Wednesday, March 10, 1999

Clearcreek's big, new park

Many plans for donations

Enquirer Contributor

        CLEARCREEK TOWNSHIP — Two families are helping to meet the recreation needs of residents in this fast-growing corner of Warren County.

        The Patricia Allyn/Hoffmann Reserve Park is under development along Ohio 48 east of Springboro.

        Mrs. Allyn, whose husband was an executive of Dayton-based NCR Corp., gave the township about 97 acres in 1994 for a park. An adjoining 96-acre parcel has been donated by the Hoffmann family, who continue to live on the property.

        In the next several years, the land will be developed as a park/nature preserve.

        It will be Clearcreek Township's first park, and the plans for it are ambitious. But assistant township administrator Ronald Wilhelm has no doubt the facility will be used by many.

        Plans call for soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, baseball fields, picnic shelters and playgrounds. There also will be an arboretum, extensive natural areas, an amphitheater and nature center. The park will be developed in phases as funds become available.

        The first phase should be open early in 2000. The park now has a gateway and paved road leading to a picnic shelter and playground. Crews have starting moving dirt, and utilities will be installed soon.

        Like much of Warren County, rural Clearcreek Township is feeling the pressures of growth. Ohio 73 east of Springboro is dotted with orange flag markers, and earthmovers are busy clearing space for more subdivisions.

        In 1990, Clearcreek's population was estimated at 6,770. Census officials in 1996 estimated that had jumped to nearly 8,000. Jeffrey Palmer, the township's director of planning and zoning, thinks the township's population now stands at nearly 9,800 residents.

        Mr. Palmer is grateful that Mrs. Allyn and the Hoffmanns gave their property to the township, rather than selling it to real estate developers.

        “The owners had the forethought to see the value of retaining what was existing,” he said. “We're looking at almost 200 acres that could be converted to subdivisions, but there would be no public benefit. There is public benefit in seeing nature preserved.”

        Until the park is open, area residents will continue to compete for use of school playing fields and smaller parks, such as 15-acre Kesling Park.

        Robert Craig, Warren County's director of planning, said the Allyn and Hoffmann land donations were well- timed and ideally located.

        “There was a countywide parks and open-space plan done about 10 years ago that identified existing neighborhood, community and regional parks. (That study showed) the eastern part of Clearcreek Township looked underserved,” he said.


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