This Dayton MetroPark is about to get much bigger

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Dayton is home to over 330 miles of paved bike trails throughout Southwest Ohio. Here's the best ones nominated in the 2016 Best of Dayton survey. (Video by Tabatha Wharton)

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Five Rivers MetroParks wants to greatly increase the size of Wesleyan MetroPark by acquiring nearby land from a local church.

Wesleyan MetroPark, located east of North James H. McGee Boulevard and North Gettysburg Avenue, is about 59 acres but could grow to more than 107 acres if the deal goes through.

This project achieves one of MetroParks’ goals to increase service in that northwestern part of Dayton, said Carrie Scarff, MetroParks’ chief of planning and projects.

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“It gives us the opportunity to expand Wesleyan MetroPark in a way that we think will be really valuable in terms of the experiences we will be able to offer to park users,” she said.

Five Rivers MetroParks has entered into a purchase agreement with Calvary Mission Baptist Church for 45.8 acres of land northwest of North Gettysburg Avenue and Little Richmond Road.

Hikers take part in a group outing at Wesleyan MetroPark in 2015. CONTRIBUTED
Hikers take part in a group outing at Wesleyan MetroPark in 2015. CONTRIBUTED

MetroParks has received a Clean Ohio conservation fund grant worth $233,000 from the state of Ohio to assist with the purchase. The grant also will help pay to clean up the property and remove trash.

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The Calvary Mission church is donating to the project, which is expected to cost more than $311,000. The land itself is valued at $215,000.

The expansion project meets some of the goals from MetroParks’ comprehensive master plan by offering more substantial trails and new outdoor activities, said Scarff.

The Calvary Mission land contains ponds and the snaking Wolf Creek, which would offer new fishing and other recreational opportunities, she said.

The land acquisition also could help close a portion of the five-mile gap in the Wolf Creek bike trail, which extends from Trotwood to Little Richmond Road in Dayton.

MetroParks is working toward closing on the property this summer. The expansion area will need to have parking, a good access road, restrooms, places for people to sit and good trails that link back to the existing portion of Wesleyan, Scarff said.

MetroParks also would want to improve the ecosystems, including the prairie and the woods, she said.

MetroParks has 18 parks and the 2nd Street Market.