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Green changes direction on Hartong homestead use

8/22/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

City officials are changing the planned use for the Hartong Homestead, located in Southgate Park.
Photo courtesy of the city of Green
GREEN — At a joint meeting Aug. 18, the Green Parks and Recreation Board and Historic Preservation Commission unanimously passed resolutions of support to move forward in a new direction for the historical Levi Hartong farmstead, located in Southgate Park, 5300 Massillon Road.

The Levi J. Hartong Farmstead is the only property in Green listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to city officials. The property includes an 1880s farmhouse and bank barn, plus a number of outbuildings and a funerary.

According to city officials, officials agreed during the meeting to return the home and up to 22 acres of the park back into farmland through a lease arrangement with a farmer who would live in the farmhouse and work on the property. This new concept was presented by the Planning Department and the Parks and Recreation Division, which collaborated during the past several months on researching and discussing the idea, according to city officials.

“This show of support by these boards is a first step to changing our direction,” said Sarah Haring, community development administrator for Green. “Our next steps will be to develop the request for proposal and market the idea to potential farmers.”

Previously, the idea for the farmhouse, which is currently being rented to an individual by the city, was to turn the historic home into a trailhead and exhibit space, according to city officials.

“The cost involved in doing that is prohibitive,” said Haring. “In the end, there was a strong feeling that providing an engaging public exhibit space in this very remote area was not fiscally responsible, and in terms of maintenance and staffing, not sustainable.”

Mike Elkins, superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Division, said that the proposed land, which is currently a meadow located in the southwest corner of the property, is not used by current park visitors.

“This project takes full advantage of the opportunities Southgate Park presents to our community and creates additional diversity within our entire park system that consists of more than 530 acres,” he said.

With the support offered by the Parks and Recreation Board and the Historical Preservation Commission, city officials are preparing a request for proposal, which will require a portion to serve as a community education element.

City officials stated earlier this year that Haring, Elkins and others met with individuals at the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, which leases Cuyahoga Valley National Park land to farmers, to learn more about its process and to ensure the location in Green could fit the model of sustainable farming on parkland.

Applications and proposals will be accepted beginning in the spring of 2014. No timeline for the selection process has been identified, and city officials said they hope instead to take time to find the right person and project.

Those who would like a copy of the request for proposal/application may contact Haring at sharing@cityofgreen.org.

 

Maria Lindsay contributed to this report.

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