Centerville schools land sale would create new largest park for district

The Centerville-Washington Park District is looking to buy about 33 acres near Grant Park from Centerville City Schools. CONTRIBUTED
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The Centerville-Washington Park District is looking to buy about 33 acres near Grant Park from Centerville City Schools. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

CENTERVILLE — The local park district is seeking to buy about 33 acres from Centerville City Schools.

The Centerville-Washington Park District wants to purchase the two parcels near Grant Park as part of the master plan for the 189-acre site between McEwen and Normandy Ridge roads.

The transaction would make Grant the largest park in district shared by the city and Washington Twp., surpassing the 194-acre Bill Yeck Park, officials said.

The sale of 28 acres adjacent to Watts Middle School and 5.25 acres near Normandy Elementary School is contingent on a $600,000 state grant, for which the park district has received verbal confirmation, according to spokeswoman Carrie Dittman.

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No final costs have been determined, but the land has been appraised at $555,000, she said in an email.

The land off McEwen near Watts isn’t conducive to be used by the school district , Superintendent Tom Henderson said.

“There’s an area there that’s pretty heavily wooded. There’s a pretty steep ravine there,” Henderson told school board members recently. “And there are some trails back there that are pretty aggressive — with switchbacks to them — very steep.

“It’s really land that we’ve never used and we don’t really envision using that land,” he added. “They’re willing to allow us to use that forever.”

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The land would be used “to provide visitor access, enhance trail experiences, preserve the mature woods and improve overall for safety/security access,” Dittman said.

Grant Park has two main entrances, one on Normandy Ridge and the other on McEwen.

The sale of both parcels, Henderson said, would be “a win-win opportunity to allow the park district to do what they do best and work on the trails and work with the land.”

The land is being surveyed and the park district would like to finalize the deal by spring 2022, Dittman said.

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The Ohio Public Works Commission Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation program funding would be a matching grant with a 75/25 split between the state and the park district, respectively, she added.

The award will not be official until the commission sends the park district the final paperwork, Dittman said.

Centerville schools owns a combined 58.54 acres on McEwen and Normandy Ridge, according to the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office website.

More than 43 acres is at the Watts address and the remainder is at the Normandy site, records show.

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