Olander Park to purchase school acreage


The Olander Park officials today finalized the purchase from the Sylvania School District of 40 acres of land that adjoins Sylvan Prairie park.

The three Olander Park System commissioners unanimously approved the purchase for $600,000. 

The land, which is located across the street from Central Trail Elementary on Mitchaw Road, and will become part of Sylvan Prairie park, increasing its acreage from 151 to 191.

“We will not build on it, we will leave it as a natural floodplain,” said John Zeitler, a parks commissioner. He said that walking trails are planned for the new plot of land and they will allow its natural habitat to flourish.

The purchase of the land has been in the works for about two years, Gary Madryzkowski, Olander Park director, said. He said that school officials primarily purchased the land years ago to build a new school on it. However, it was determined that the site was not feasible for building Central Trail Elementary because the land was set about 3 feet below the street level, which caused it to easily flood. The school was built across the street from the lot in 2012.

“Brad Rieger called me about the property and said it was a floodplain, but I told him ‘Man we love floodplains,’” Mr. Madryzkowski said. “The more floodplains we have out there, the less likely for it to flood in other places.”

The commissioners agreed that the land purchase was a win-win for the school district and the park, but moreover it was bringing local tax dollars back into the community because the land will be purchased with state funds.

Through the Clean Ohio Fund grant, park officials will receive a credit of $427,000, after the initial purchase of the land, and an additional $57,000 was awarded by NatureWorks, another state funded grant program. The residual balance will be paid with funds from the park's 0.5-mill tax levy.

The Clean Ohio Fund was put in place by state officials to preserve the last vestiges of undeveloped property for outdoor recreational purposes. During the commissioners meeting, Mr. Madryzkowski alerted them that $26 million for the state fund that has been appropriated in Governor John Kasich's pending budget was approved by the state House. 

Park officials said they hope the Senate approves the funding and that additional money would be added to the governor's budget for the program so that they can acquire additional green space for the park system in the future.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or ntrusso@theblade.com.