Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, took steps on Wednesday to build a new nature center at Liberty Park, expand the new Freedom Trail and begin work at a new park in Hudson.
The park commissioners agreed to pay Peninsula Architects up to $68,630 to design the new nature center at Liberty Park in Twinsburg.
The center is estimated to cost $812,565.
It will be built off a park road off Liberty Road at Post Road. The road and parking lot have already been built and serve the Twinsburg Ledges Trail in the northwest corner of the park.
“We’re excited to get started,” said Keith Shy, the park district’s secretary-director.
The commissioners also hired the Environmental Design Group of Akron for up to $78,350 to handle the landscape design work with the Liberty Park project.
The commissioners also authorized park staffers to negotiate a contract with Illinois-based Taylor Studios for exhibits at the new nature center.
The center will be small, wooden and rustic, perhaps with a large porch for visitors, said park planner Paul Wilkerson.
The commissioners also agreed to pay up to $92,600 to the GPD Group of Akron to design the extension of the Freedom Trail.
The project covers two miles from Southwest Avenue in Tallmadge to Eastland Avenue in Akron.
Wilkerson said it is hoped that construction of the new trail section could begin in late 2013.
The existing trail was built in late 2012 and runs four miles from Southwest Avenue in Tallmadge east to the Summit-Portage line at Middlebury Road in Kent.
The commissioners also approved seeking $250,000 in Clean Ohio Trail Funds to help finance the trail extension.
Park officials will also negotiate a contract with the GPD Group to begin landscape design work at Wood Hollow Metro Park at Barlow and Stow roads in Hudson.
The commissioners also hired the University of Akron to conduct an archaeological survey of the Hudson park for $16,514.
In other action, park officials reported that the park district got nearly 5.4 million visitors in 2012.
The total was 5,396,894, said spokesman Rob Peters.
The most-visited park was Sand Run Metro Park with 2,059,804 visitors. The least-visited park is Liberty Park in northern Summit County with 128,799 visitors.
The park district attracted 5 million visitors in 2010 and 5.3 million visitors in 2011, he said.
The park district also welcomed new commissioner Mark Spisak of Norton. He was sworn in by Summit County Probate Court Judge Elinor Marsh Stormer. Commissioner Frances Buchholzer was elected chair of the park commissioners for 2013.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.