Name picked for new city park

Con­struc­tion yet to be­gin on Heis­ley Road prop­erty im­prove­ments

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By Betsy Scott bscott@news-her­ @re­porter­betsy on Twit­ter

Men­tor of­fi­cials de­cided to go with what peo­ple know when nam­ing the city’s new 50-acre park.

City Coun­cil re­cently ap­proved of­fi­cially nam­ing the prop­erty at 6842 Heis­ley Road Spring­brook Gar­dens Park, in honor of the for­mer nurs­ery on the site.

Spring­brook Gar­dens be­longed to the Schultz fam­ily for more than 100 years and was among

the last large pieces of un­de­vel­oped pri­vately owned parcels in Men­tor when it was sold to the city in 2014 for $2.5 mil­lion. The busi­ness closed the fol­low­ing year. In 2016, an­other $335,000 was spent to pur­chase more land, in­clud­ing a cen­tury home.

“It would be im­por­tant to the fam­ily if ‘Spring­brook’ fell in that name,” City Man­ager Ken Filip­iak said at a work ses­sion last month. “Lo­cals call it Spring­brook Park.”

Coun­cil­man at large Scott Marn asked whether a con­test or other public in­put was in or­der.

“The only other one we’ve named is Bellflower Park for (for­mer coun­cil­man) Eddy Walsh,” Marn said.

Filip­iak ad­vised Coun­cil that is has the ex­clu­sive au­thor­ity to name the park.

“It’s en­tirely up to this Coun­cil to name it and a fu­ture Coun­cil to change it, if they want to,” he said.

Coun­cil­man at large Ray Kirch­ner spoke in fa­vor of re­tain­ing Spring­brook in the ti­tle.

“(The fam­ily) came to us and went out of their way to make sure we could pur­chase it,” he said, sug­gest­ing that a ground­break­ing event be held.

Ward 1 Coun­cil­man Sean Blake sup­ported Spring­brook as well

“If we tried to name it any­thing else, I think it would be pretty awk­ward for res­i­dents down there, and I’d even see some re­sis­tance,” he said.

Ward 4 Coun­cil­man John Krueger added his as­sent.

“I agree it’s an ap­pro­pri­ate name given the longevity of the nurs­ery down there,” he said.

Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Janet Dowl­ing con­curred.

“It’s an im­por­tant part of our his­tory, and we don’t have a lot left, so I don’t know if it would set­tle well if we changed it to some­thing else,” she said.

A for­mal vote for Spring­brook Gar­dens Park was taken Oct. 3 and was unan­i­mous.

“...the Coun­cil of the City of Men­tor is de­sirous of memo­ri­al­iz­ing the his­tory of Spring­brook Gar­dens, be­ing as it was her­alded as the largest whole­sale-only, bare­root peren­nial grower in the United States,” the leg­is­la­tion reads.

Part of the res­i­den­tially zoned land was sold to a devel­oper sev­eral years ago, but then-owner Jack Schultz wanted to keep the rest in­tact. He was in the agri­cul­ture busi­ness for more than 70 years, start­ing out work­ing for his dad at Way­side Gar­dens based on Men­tor Av­enue.

“I feel great,” said Jack of the park name, adding that it orig­i­nated with his grand­fa­ther, Elmer’s, farm.

“That was really the in­tent of sell­ing it to the city that there would be some kind of memo­rial for all the nurs­eries,” said son John Schultz, who be­gan driv­ing a trac­tor on the farm in sec­ond grade. “I think I started get­ting paid when I was 10. We al­ways worked. …

“We’re glad that it’s go­ing to be a park in­stead of an­other hous­ing de­vel­op­ment. It just makes ev­ery­body happy, and the city of Men­tor’s been really great to work with, too.”

Park progress?

Mean­while, plans to cre­ate park fea­tures on the prop­erty con­tinue. In Septem­ber, Filip­iak in­di­cated that Phase 1 would be bid soon with an al­ter­nate bid in­clud­ing Phase 2.

“Most of that de­vel­op­ment is pretty well so­lid­i­fied, be­cause it’s go­ing to be mostly open space,” he said. “If we re­ceive some good bids, we may be able to move for­ward with those phases faster than we thought.”

Phase 1 in­volves adding walk­ing paths, two cul­verts and a por­tion of the park­ing area. The sec­ond phase will in­clude re­strooms, a pavil­ion, play­ground, bas­ket­ball courts, mul­ti­pur­pose courts and tree in­stal­la­tion.

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