A retired chemist's desire to preserve some of the Perrysburg area's green space will mean a quiet tract of city park land in the year to come.
Jeremiah Howald, who manages his family's 300-acre farm, and his three siblings will sell nearly 18 acres to the city of Perrysburg for a small percentage of what it's really worth and much less than what has been offered by developers.
“It's pure civic-mindedness,” said acting city administrator Jim Bagdonas.
Mr. Howald said a developer offered him $15,000 an acre.
“We're very fortunate that the Howalds are so civic-minded,” said city law director Peter Gwyn. “We're paying 20 percent, maybe 15 percent of what this is worth.”
Last week, Perrysburg city council approved an option to buy the property at $3,000 an acre. The contract is written so that the city will buy the tract in about six or seven years. That's just enough time and money to let Mr. Howald pay off inheritance taxes on the land, Mr. Howald said.
The 17.59-acre parcel is actually in Perrysburg Township west of Fort Meigs Road, abutting the McKinley Woods subdivision. Two short roads - which most likely would have allowed access to development into the parcel - end at the parcel's property line.
Once the city purchases the land, it can annex it from the township into to the city.
Mr. Howald said he, his brother, and two sisters decided to sell the land so that it will remain undeveloped. His father, who also was named Jeremiah Howald, purchased the property in 1940 and the parcel in question is about half wooded area and half farmed with wheat, he said.
He said he certainly could have made more money if he had sold the money to a developer. But he said the area, once a tranquil, rural township, “is getting crowded.”
“I guess [developers] thought if they waved a million dollars in front of my nose, I'd give in,” he said.
His father and mother would have agreed with the decision, he said. His father many years ago donated a property along a trout stream to Michigan to preserve.
“My father was environmentally conscious 60 years before anyone else was,” Mr. Howald said.
As for the Perrysburg township land, Mr. Howald said he places no restrictions on its use when the city buys it, but “trusts” the city leaders to preserve it.
Mr. Gwyn said that shouldn't be a problem. The area will remain a park-type scene “as far as I'm concerned, forever.”