Summit Metro Parks We're Your Back Yard


History of the Metro Parks

By Cheri Goldner, Librarian
Akron-Summit County Public Library

1917 - Congress creates the National Park Service

1925 - Seiberling accepts the first gift of land to the park system

1929 - The stock market crash and the Great Depression

1941 - The district adds Firestone Reservation

1950 - New challenges for the Akron Metropolitan Park District

The 1950s brought new challenges for the Akron Metropolitan Park District. While the district suffered the failure of three levies during this time, the problems extended beyond the financial. The City of Akron’s sewer trunk line through Sand Run Metropolitan Park developed leaks and caused pollution. The construction of the turnpike north of the Brushwood Area of Furnace Run and the relocation of State Route 21 meant the loss of land and led to soil erosion and a buildup of sediment in the lake. In addition, the Tuscarawas Shelter at Firestone Metropolitan Park experienced flooding due to the construction of a new dam on the Tuscarawas River. Some property was acquired during the 1950s, including land at the north end of North Hawkins Avenue and lots adjacent to Goodyear Heights Metropolitan Park.

1958 - The retirement of Harold S. Wagner as Director-Secretary

1965 - The district hires its second long-time director-secretary, John R. Daily

In 1965, the district hired its second long-time director-secretary, John R. Daily, who served until 1995. Under Coup, Wilcox and Daily, the 1960s and ‘70s was a period of much growth and support for the Metro Parks, and during Daily’s 30-year tenure the park system grew to 6,600 acres. That included the additions of Silver Creek, O’Neil Woods, Hampton Hills, the Bike & Hike Trail, the Kniss Conservation Area, Munroe Falls Metro Park and Cascade Valley. Daily also helped acquire lands in the Cuyahoga Valley in the 1960s that later become part of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, saving them from development. Congressman John Seiberling was instrumental in saving the valley, and he was among the first to ride the Bike & Hike Trail when it opened.

1998-2015 - Keith D. Shy serves as director-secretary

Present - The park district manages 14,300 acres