Stark Parks will be opening the former Tam O'Shanter golf course as its newest park in the coming week.
JACKSON TWP. Residents soon will be able to hike across the former Tam O'Shanter Golf Course.
Stark Parks has closed the purchase of 94 acres on the southeast part of the 36-hole golf course and has grant money lined up to buy the remaining 100 acres before the end of 2019. Until that purchase if finished, Stark Parks has an agreement to lease the acreage for $1, said Bob Fonte, parks director.
Conversion of the golf course into a park and a retail development has been in the works for years.
Plans are to take about 62 acres along Fulton Drive NW toward Everhard Road NW and develop that for retail business and offices. The bulk of the property will go to Stark Parks, which plans to create hiking trails and space for other passive recreational activities.
About 40 acres will be set aside in a partnership with Jackson Township parks to develop athletic fields. Tam O'Shanter is donating 20 acres to the township, while another 20 acres will be purchased by the township. It's expected that Jackson Township's park will be on a northern section of the property near the commercial area. (Information has been changed to correct an error at 8:45 a.m. 12/31/18. See correction at end of story.)
Stark Parks is buying the Tam O'Shanter property using grants totaling $6.64 million from the Clean Ohio Trail Fund through the Natural Resources Advisory Committee.
The county park district and Jackson township officials will work on a master plan for developing the different parks.
Fonte plans to have a series of meetings — dates, times and locations will be announced later — to get ideas and learn how residents would like to see the property used. Officials hope a master plan for developing the land can be finalized during the summer.
Fonte said he looks forward to working with the community on developing a final plan. Under consideration will be what to do with several buildings, including the clubhouse and pro shop.
In the meantime, the parks district will install snow fence next week to create a boundary separating the park from the commercial area set to be developed and the tract Jackson Township will use. Plans are to mark three temporary trails through the property, while trash cans and temporary restroom facilities will be installed.
The park will be open from sunrise to sunset for hiking and viewing wildlife. Visitors can expect to see unkempt space and overgrowth as the golf course is returned to a natural setting.
Tam O'Shanter will be the 15th park in the county district.
Details about potential businesses for the commercial development haven't been announced.
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Correction: Tam O'Shanter is donating 20 acres to the township, while another 20 acres will be purchased by the township. The agencies involved in the sale were incorrect when this story was first published online 12/29/18.)