The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park plans to purchase the former Brandywine Golf Course in Peninsula, with the intent to convert it to park land. The course has been closed since 2018 and has been on the market for several months, leading to speculation that the land might be sold for development.
The nonprofit signed a purchase agreement last week.
“When Brandywine first became available, the Trust for Public Land stepped forward to explore ways the property might become part of Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP),” said Deb Yandala, CEO of the Conservancy. “This was a high priority for the Trust, but interest in the property increased substantially in just a few months and the group was unable to complete its due diligence fast enough to make a purchase. Fortunately, members of the Conservancy were able to step forward to secure a purchase agreement with the current owners before the property was sold to another party. The property is zoned residential and could have easily been used for that purpose if we had not been able to act quickly.”
Located on 215 acres that sit on both sides of Akron-Peninsula Road south of the Village of Peninsula, Brandywine Golf Course was opened in the 1960s by the Yesberger family. It operated as a public course until 2018, when Yesberger’s grandson and successor died suddenly. The property is adjacent to the Virginia Kendall area of the park to the south, Camp Manatoc and Camp Butler to the east, and the Cuyahoga River to the west.
“We are incredibly grateful to our partners for leading the effort to preserve this critical piece of property in the heart of Cuyahoga Valley National Park,” said CVNP Superintendent Craig Kenkel. “Words cannot express our gratitude to the Trust for Public Land for beginning the acquisition process and to the Conservancy for completing the negotiations and providing the funding to secure a contract. This is a legacy gift to Northeast Ohio of land everyone can use and enjoy.”
Yandala said that Conservancy and Cuyahoga Valley National Park staff will now begin studying the property and considering potential uses. Work also must begin to raise the funds in order to close the deal next September. The plan is to determine the best use of the land for park purposes and to generate a variety of sources of funding, including help from the Trust for Public Land, private fundraising and other local sources, according to to a news release.
“We are very confident our members and the community at large will step forward to help us complete this purchase,” said Yandala. “We know Cuyahoga Valley National Park impacts the lives of millions of visitors and residents every year. There will be no greater testament to that love for our park than providing the funds to secure this beautiful property.”
The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the official friends group and philanthropic partner for Ohio’s only national park. Headquartered in Boston Township, the Conservancy offers cultural and educational programming, operates a year-round environmental education center, co-manages the park’s volunteer program, provides venues for weddings, meetings and special events, and operates two retail spaces in the park.
In 2016, the Conservancy announced a campaign to build a new visitor center for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. That facility, funded with $7.1 million raised by the Conservancy, will open on October 25 as the Boston Mill Visitor Center in a rehabilitated century-old complex located on Riverview Road in Boston Township.
For info, visit www.conservancyforcvnp.org/.