Summit Metro Parks is pleased to share updates on upcoming and ongoing mission-based projects that aim to improve quality of life for Summit County residents.
Summit Metro Parks staff have worked for more than a decade to deliver the Freedom Trail -- a rails-to-trails multipurpose trail conversion -- to Summit County residents. Completed in phases, this trail begins at the Portage County line and is currently ridable to Union Street in Akron.
While SMP staff continue to work with land owners for Phase 3 of Freedom Trail, planning is also underway for the final trail segment. Phase 4 will allow riders to cross from Downtown Akron to connect to the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail near the Spaghetti Warehouse.
See Freedom Trail Phase 4 overview presentation
See Freedom Trail Phase 4 meeting update, including 2021 public input
A diverse group of community partners is working to remove the 420-foot-wide, 60-foot-tall dam within Gorge Metro Park. The dam, which is no longer in use, is a significant impediment to the water quality of the Cuyahoga River. Dam removal is expected to improve river ecology, create recreational opportunities and drive economic benefits.
Now in its fourth year, the dam removal project is managed by a group of stakeholders that includes the City of Akron, City of Cuyahoga Falls, FirstEnergy, County of Summit, Summit County Council, Summit Metro Parks, Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA.
With funding totaling $4.6 million from the Federal Emergency
Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and Clean Ohio, Summit Metro Parks is completing erosion control and habitat enhancement projects vital to the long-term sustainability of its oldest and most-visited park.
This work, critical to the future of the park, will result in rolling closures to Sand Run Parkway and the Jogging Trail over the next two years.
Acquired by the park district in 2016, the Valley View Area of Cascade Valley Metro Park in Akron has already undergone a significant transformation and continues to evolve and take shape. Several substantial state and federal grant awards have helped the park district re-naturalize the land and reimagine the property’s historic barn that once served as a golf clubhouse.
In fall of 2021, the park district will launch a prototype hiking trail near the barn, which will allow visitors access to explore the area and watch us grow. Reservations for events in 2022 will open this fall for the restored barn lodge.
With river restoration work nearly complete, the next project will be developing pedestrian access to the Cuyahoga River. When they're available, we will share updates here on our latest work at Valley View.