HARTVILLE Quail Hollow Park in Hartville is on course to receive some updates to trails and other areas as Stark Parks is in the process of completing a Master Plan for the park.
The 701-acre Quail Hollow became the 14th park managed by Stark Parks in January 2016. It is the fourth largest in the system.
At the time of the transition from being managed by the state to the Stark Parks system, an assessment and inventory of the park began. Community input to develop a Master Plan was part of the process with Stark Parks held two public meetings to get park users involved in developing the plan.
The first of the community meetings took place in January 2017 where Stark Parks officials gathered input from residents for current and future uses of the Quail Hollow. The second and last of the meetings took place at Lake High School on April 12 to present the plan so far and to get feedback in order to complete the plan.
“The Master Plan has been in progress since last November when we started to collect data, completed stakeholder interviews and did a public survey," said project manager Sarah Buell. “We met with the community at the beginning of this year after which we started developing ideas for the park. We’re meeting with the community to present the Master Plan and gather feedback to refine the Master Plan which we hope to have completed by June."
One of the focuses for the future is to determine how to connect the trails to the community.
“Quail Hollow trails have always been on our radar and how to connect to those trails has been on our trail plan. Where and how to connect will become part of this process. We’ll determine if we want to connect to the YMCA, to the area schools, Congress Lake, various neighborhoods and/or the downtown areas,” Buell said.
Stark Parks was joined at the meeting by Domokur Architects and other consultants. They presented proposed usage plans for each structure and area which were represented on various storyboards. There were also boards showing the trail uses, which ones will remain, which will be removed and which new trails will be opened.
“While the goal of the Master Plans is to enhance the trail connections within the park and connecting to the community, it will also report projected capital costs and long-term operating and budget considerations,” Buell said.
The 30-minute presentation included sharing feedback from the community and stakeholders. Feedback showed those using the park wanted to see more trails, trailheads and trail signage. Park visitors also wanted more bathrooms, shelters and parking.
All of the buildings and structures, including the Manor House, will remain. Buell said Stark Parks plans for the historical building include restoration and preservation. All of the current events held at the Manor House will continue.
For cultural and recreation needs and wants, fitness activities rated first, with seasonal events, nature education and arts and music following in second, third and fourth places.
Stefanie A. S. Smith from Domokur Architects presented three site organizational plans and concepts for the Historical Core, Environmental Core and the Little House Area. There will be a community garden and playground area added at the Little House area. Plus, a shared meeting room and park offices.
There are also proposed updates at the pond area. Some existing trails throughout the park will remain with one being removed and new ones being opened.
Keith and Robin Rozsi live in Lake Township and use the park for cross country skiing and hiking. They were both happy with the proposed changes and additions.
“It’s become a tradition for our family to come out and hike the trails on Thanksgiving morning before starting to cook the turkey,” Keith said. “It looks like the Master Plan includes putting fresh gravel on some of the trails making the park more useable because some of the trails get pretty muddy. Plus, they are adding more trails and making Manor House more useable. So, we are happy with the plans so far."
Buell said the first focus will be to improve the signage on the trails. The additional updates will be phased in as funding becomes available. She said the Master Plan will be finished by early June and posted at www.starkparks.com.