Ottawa County: 12-acre parcel donated to park district

Staff Writer

The Black Swamp Conservancy has donated an undeveloped parcel of land to the Park District of Ottawa County that includes a broad marsh and a quarter mile of shoreline on Lake Erie’s West Harbor.
The parcel, located in Catawba Island Township, will be the future site of a park maintenance facility and will include a kayak launch, walking trails, a parking area, and habitat restoration projects. It is the first park area owned by the Park District of Ottawa County and will be named the West Harbor Preserve.
The 12-acre parcel is one of two pieces of conservation land on Catawba Island that were purchased earlier this year by the Black Swamp Conservancy through a grant from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund. The other property contains more than 19 acres of mature hardwood forest and will be retained by the Conservancy for migratory bird and wildlife habitat.
“On Dec. 21, 2023, we had a milestone moment for the park district. It has been 31 years since the inception of the district, but we can now say we own property to develop our first park area,” said Jannah Wilson, executive director for the park district. “Working with the Black Swamp Conservancy has been a great experience and we look forward to a strong partnership for years to come as we work together to re-establish the natural riparian habitat. Most importantly, we are grateful for the support from Ottawa County taxpayers. Projects such as this are made possible through the park district’s current 10-year, 0.6-mill operating levy which was passed by Ottawa County voters in November 2020. The levy will continue to support the park district as we develop amenities and maintain the property now and in the future.”
Wilson said the district - established in 1992 - will be issuing a request for proposals for a park master plan and preliminary engineering design.
Development of the West Harbor Preserve will take up to two years, during which time the preserve will not be publicly accessible.
“The Conservancy is pleased to donate this property to the Park District of Ottawa County. That this project represents the park district’s first owned land is all the more exciting, said Rob Krain, executive director of Black Swamp Conservancy. “Our organization often takes the lead on acquiring important lands, like this one, and gifting them to local entities to manage for public use. We’ve done similar projects with Catawba Island Township, Danbury Township, Sandusky County Park District and many other partners.”


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