BRUNSWICK – After more than six months of discussions, the Medina County Park District has unveiled its long-term master plan for Brunswick Lake Park, which calls for the elimination of the archway on the eastern shores of the park, as well as the dinosaur trail to start.
According to MCPD Director Nate Eppink, the park district is looking to make Brunswick Lake Park more of a natural park, similar to the other parks it oversees countywide. While much of the master plan centers around naturalizing the space in 2019, most of the capital improvements that are included as part of the plans will get underway in 2020 and 2021.
“This year, we’re going to start naturalizing the east side of the lake,” Eppink said. “Right now, we do quite a bit of mowing over there, but our plan is to get rid of much of the grass and replace it with native grasses to make it look like more of a prairie.”
In conjunction with the city, Eppink said, the park district is also looking to plant trees on the east side of the lake this year.
As the area is naturalized, Eppink said the park district will be removing the archway, which he says has not been maintained very well over the years. Though the structure itself, which was donated to the city by Architectural Justice, will be demolished, the granite block that serves as the floor to the archway will remain as both city and park district officials agree it serves as a nice entry point to the park.
Also slated for removal with possible relocation to another city park is the dinosaur trail, which features dinosaur-sized footprints designed to educate and serve as a play area for children.
“My first reaction when I took my own children out there was that it was a trip hazard,” Eppink said, noting that like the archway, the dinosaur trail hasn’t been well maintained.
As for the other elements that have been donated to the park over the years, which include a human sundial donated by the now defunct local arts organization, Brunswick Art Works, and the pavilion built in memory of four Brunswick High School students who died in a car crash the day they were supposed to graduate in 2013, those elements will remain, Eppink said.
While the large-scale capital improvements won’t be constructed until next year, Eppink said the community can expect to see the construction of new features that will make it easier for the public to access the lake itself.
Those improvements start with the construction of a new fishing pier on the north end of the lake that will be similar to the one already in place at Letha House Park in Medina, which the park district also oversees.
Also part of the plan are at least two canoe/kayak launch areas similar to those that are in use at Killbuck Lakes, Eppink said.
“These will be built at grade level, making it easier for the public to access the water in locations that will be signed accordingly,” he said.
Another fishing dock near the spillway is also in the works, Eppink said, as are public restrooms on the east side of the lake. To make the restroom building as inconspicuous as possible, it will be heavily screened with trees and other plants.
Eppink said the input provided to the park district last year on the behalf of the Brunswick Lake ad-hoc committee has proven invaluable as the park district was developing the master plan. That committee met three times last summer to present city and park district officials with ideas as to what they were looking for in the city’s largest park.
“We were encouraged by the feedback that was provided to us,” he told members of the ad-hoc committee May 2. “The resulting plan is a combination that overlapped some of our ideas with yours.”
Ward 2 Councilman Nick Hanek, who oversaw the ad-hoc committee, said he’s pleased with the results.
“These are some improvements that we would not have been able to see come to fruition at this level or pace without the park district’s assistance because we simply didn’t have the funding,” Hanek said.
Though the park district has been operating Brunswick Lake Park for several years, in 2018 the city agreed to the MCPD for a period of 25 years, as part of which it agreed to take over funding of capital improvements at the park as well.
The city has also applied for grant funding that, if approved, will provide the funding for a trail that would connect Plum Creek Park with Brunswick Lake Park. Additional grant funding is also being sought for a trail that would then connect Brunswick Lake Park with North Park. Those grant applications are still pending with the state.