Opened in 1972 as Medina County Park District's (MCPD) first park, Green Leaf Park is a microcosm of what the park district is all about – nature, recreation, reclamation, preservation, and the protection of woods and wetlands for the benefit of people and the ecosystem in which we live. In June, Green Leaf Park grew by 15 acres thanks to a $231,964.50 Clean Ohio grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission. This 15-acre acquisition helps protect the Wolf Creek, which flows east into Summit County, ultimately reaching Barberton reservoir, which provides drinking water to the city of nearly 25,000 residents.
The park district had been working with the landowners for several years to preserve this property. In addition to protecting the Wolf Creek, the natural features and wildlife of these 15 acres are outstanding. Staff from the natural resources department documented numerous spring wildflowers and neotropical songbirds here. A total of 144 native species of plants, animals, and fungi were recorded over three different site visits prior to the acquisition. Large trees on the property, such as American beech, American basswood, sugar maple, and various oaks, provide food and refuge for many animals. Some of the trees there are as large as three feet in diameter.
Director Nathan Eppink commented, “I'm especially pleased with this acquisition. Its preservation benefits multiple counties and communities, and like so many of our successes, this one crossed the finish line because of the people involved including patient sellers and dedicated park district staff.” The application for the Clean Ohio grant included support letters from the Medina County Soil & Water Conservation District, the city of Barberton, ODNR Division of Wildlife, Summit Metro Parks, and park partner West Creek Conservancy.
Sharon Township Trustee Kim Miller said, “The Township is excited for the growth of the Medina County parks. Now more than ever, families are wanting more open space and parks. The township is grateful for this property the district has worked so hard to acquire.”
Green Leaf Park is located at 1674 S. Medina Line Road in Sharon Township. The park includes a .85–mile nature trail, 1-acre pond, 80-person capacity open-air shelter, sledding hill, and a youth football/soccer field. The Hard family log cabin (circa 1817) is also located at the park. It is one of the oldest remaining dwellings in Medina County. This pioneer family home was moved to Green Leaf Park by the Sharon Historical Society. Medina County Herb Society maintains an herb garden near the log home for park visitors to enjoy. Looking out over Green Leaf Park’s diverse amenities, lush green space and mature trees, you’d never guess this property served as the Sharon Gravel Pit in its former life. From the early twentieth century to 1971, untold tons of gravel and sand deposited by retreating glaciers were excavated from the site.
MCPD is a local and regional leader in conservation, education, and the protection of natural resources. Employees take pride in the parks, trails, programs, and community; ensure quality outdoor experiences; protect public investments; plant the forests and prairies of tomorrow; and develop the next generation of stewards. Established in 1965, the district manages over 7,500 acres and over 50 different trails.