Aaron Smith Nature Reserve opened Thursday in Montville Township. Its the second park to open at the former Blue Heron Golf Course. PHOTO PROVIDED
Montville Township celebrated the opening of its second park Thursday at the former Blue Heron Golf Course, and plans are in the works to develop a third.
The township hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Aaron Smith Nature Reserve on Thursday afternoon inside the 252-acre Blue Heron Park.
The township purchased the former Blue Heron Golf Course for about $500,000 in 2015 and used a $406,826 Green Ohio Grant through the Ohio Public Works Commission.
Aaron Smith is a nature preserve with limited recreation, such as running, biking and walking, nature education and picnicking.
Aaron Smith joins Austin Badger Fitness Park, which opened in September 2016, and plans for Thomas Currier Nature Park are in the works.
The parks are named after the first three Montville Township trustees in 1819. The men also were among the first settlers in the township.
Tomas Currier Nature Park “will be much like Aaron Smith Nature Reserve, just in a different area of the township,” township Trustee Sally Albrecht said. It will be “located east of the railroad tracks near River Styx Road,” she noted, and “it will be opened in a couple years.
“We don’t have entrance to that park yet.”
To help fight invasive plant species in the parks, the township is scheduled to accept a grant today worth $91,591 — $68,693 from the state matched by $22,898 from the township — Police Chief Terry Grice said. He helped write the grant that also will be used to connect the forests in the parks that comprise Blue Heron Park.
“The non-native species drop a lot of seeds that can take over the natural species in the parks,” Albrecht said.
In the meantime, Montville residents are enjoying what Blue Heron Park has to offer, Grice said.
“It’s a good park to get out and enjoy nature,” he said.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.