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Pine Lake residents object to new Lauer Park entrance

7/17/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

SPRINGFIELD — Residents in the Pine Lake neighborhood are preparing to fight a plan to create a south entrance to Lauer Park for hikers and bikers.

The hike and bike plan for Lauer Park was unveiled at a special May 29 Board of Trustees meeting where trustees voted 2-1, with trustee Deborah Davis voting against it because she said it was too costly, to purchase an easement and right-of-way on a portion of property at 2324 Spring Lake Road from Killian Investments LLC for $25,000 in order to create a back entrance from the Pine Lake neighborhood to a 1.5 mile hike and bike trail in Lauer Park. The park currently has an entrance on Killian Road.

Also at that meeting, trustees approved hiring CT Consultants to map and survey the easement for a cost not to exceed $2,500.

Trustee Dean Young had said the new entrance would be accessible by walking or biking only and also stated there would be “no parking” signs posted in the neighborhood to prevent the roads from being filled with cars.

Pine Lake residents who attended a June 12 meeting expressed a number of concerns about the project, including parking issues, and stated another easement already exists.

At the July 10 Board of Trustees meeting, John Marshall, of Spring Lake Road, told trustees residents in the Pine Lake neighborhood object to the south entrance to Lauer Park and they are conferring with legal counsel on the matter. Marshall, who said he has experience in real estate, stated the Pine Lake residents believe paying $25,000 for the 18-foot wide easement is “excessive.”

Dan Pisanelli, of Pine Lake Road, asked trustees if they had looked into the existing easement.

Young responded that an initial review showed it was “inadequate” as it was only 12 inches wide in some areas. In addition, Young said at the last meeting, Neal Hess, of Krumroy Road, who is chief of special projects for Summit Metro Parks, had stated the cost for the easement was not excessive.

Pisanelli questioned the purchase and the relationship between Young and the individual involved in the purchase.

Young acknowledged the man was a friend and he lives near the planned project on Jackson Boulevard.

“This is not in the best interest of Springfield Township,” said Pisanelli.

Young defended the project, stating, “This is a beautiful park with a lot of potential, but it is inaccessible and underutilized. It [the entrance] is a public benefit.”

Pisanelli asked Young how much more the township planned to spend to develop this entrance and trail, and Parks and Recreation Director Doug Foltz stated the plans are to create a “natural path” with minimal clearing work and without limestone.

“Give this a chance,” he said. “I don’t think it will be such a problem.”

Marshall said the Pine Lake group does not object to the project as much as they object to the cost.

Also at the meeting, trustees announced the recycle center, located near the Springfield Senior and Community Center on Canfield Road, which has bins for paper products, plastics and aluminum cans, will close permanently July 27.

Davis said the center has been a “real problem” due to people not breaking down boxes, which results in overflowing bins that leave paper blowing around in nearby yards and Springfield Lake Park. She said it has created a “nightmare” because people, despite the use of a camera set up in the area, dump tires, mattresses, shutters, broken toys and other trash “creating a mess.”

“This place is trashed up,” she said. “We have tried and tried to talk to people about this. We have had a lot of complaints that the place looks terrible. We did not make this decision lightly.”

Davis suggested residents look into using paper recycling bins set up at school buildings.

Young said the image of a dump site next to an area where concerts take place that attract residents from all over the county “cannot be tolerated.” He also said trustees hope to discuss curbside recycling opportunities at future meetings.

Trustees also announced a time change for all future board meetings. Effective immediately, all regular trustees meetings will begin at 6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.

In addition, trustees announced they are developing a program to allow residents to donate benches and trees for Springfield Lake Park in remembrance of a loved one.

In other business, trustees approved:

  • the Parks Department summer laborer position description, retroactive to April 24; the parks building and grounds specialist position description, retroactive to Nov. 14, 2013; and the parks operator position description, also retroactive to Nov. 14; and a memorandum of understanding with the Teamsters Union 436 to add those classifications (Davis voted against the last one);
  • a cost of $6,190 from Rush Truck Center, of Ohio, for the repair of a plow truck;
  • a payment of $2,610 to Animal Control Specialists LLC, with a copy of the invoice to be forwarded to Lakemore Village to request a contribution;
  • the condemnation of structures at 2353 Delaware Ave., 1117 Proctor Road, 1265 Hilbish Ave. and 1873 Burr Place, based on Summit County Building Department reports of unsafe and uninhabitable conditions, with all of them to be demolished;
  • the amendment of a previous approval certifying the cost of $43.33 in nuisance abatement to 3195 Avis Road, changing the amount to $4,443, and certifying the total cost of abatement to be placed on the tax duplicate of $25 to 1863 Burr Place and $50.55 to 3072 Ellet Ave.; and
  • a resolution in support of August as Kids Month in Summit County.

Police Chief John Smith announced donations to support the Cole family in their loss of 16-year-old Camden Cole, who drowned in Springfield Lake July 1, are being accepted at Lakeview Lighthouse Church, 1065 Kubler Trail, Akron, OH 44312; and Milheim Baptist Church, 2661 Hayne Road, Akron, OH 44312.

Davis also announced the Akron Zoo will offer Springfield residents free admission on one day Sept. 14-18 with a valid community day ticket, available from Town Hall, located at 2459 Canfield Road, until Aug. 30. Four tickets are available per household while supplies last. Parking, at $3 per vehicle, is not included.

The next regular Springfield Board of Trustees meeting will take place Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, located at 2459 Canfield Road.

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