Hiking Trails

Stark Parks Seeks Funding for Devonshire Park Trail Expansion

JACKSON TWP. – Stark Parks is seeking public funds to redo the trails and add a new one at Devonshire Park.

The park district submitted a request for $194,679 to the Clean Ohio Trails Fund through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The funding would be used to replace the 0.7-mile mown nature trail that runs through the park with crushed limestone.

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“Devonshire has been a fairly busy neighborhood park for a long time and we currently have grass paths through the park,” said project manager Sarah Buell. “It’s a very wet area and we were looking for the best way to improve the existing trail.”

The limestone will provide a more substantial surface to get off the trail in wet and sometimes muddy conditions.

Along with adding limestone to a width of about 10 feet, some boardwalk and bridge sections will be added, Buell said.

Where is Devonshire Park in Jackson Township?

Devonshire Park and Trail, at 4679 South Blvd. NW off Fulton Drive NW, adjoins neighborhood and apartment complexes.

Stark Parks intends to convert Devonshire Park's grass paths to crushed limestone and add an additional one-mile path.

Besides the trail, the 77-acre park offers grasslands and conservation areas as well as a small fishing pond.

Buell said the site was heavily used by neighbors walking dogs, fishing and using the basketball hoop in the parking lot.

In addition to resurfacing the trails, there are plans to create a new 1.6 km trail that will pass behind nearby businesses including 91 Wood Fired Oven and the Winking Lizard.

“You wouldn’t even know it was there unless you saw a (park) antenna,” Buell said.

Going forward, the park district would like to expand the trails to connect with others as part of its master plan, she said.

Jackson Township Director of Economic Development and Finance Officer Randy Gonzalez said the proposed improvements are great news, especially with more and more people looking for places to get out in nature and do exercise during the pandemic.

“It gets terribly wet,” he added, noting that the township once owned the park which at one time had ball diamonds.

Greater connection awaits Jackson Township Parks

When completed, the Devonshire Trail connections will extend between Tam O’Shanter Park and connect to the Campus Trail at Stark State and Kent Stark campuses and eventually tie into the Jackson Connector Trail.

The township is working with Stark Parks to connect trails in the township. Eventually, the trail will travel into the tunnel being constructed under Fulton Road between Jackson High School and North Park.

“These trails will interlock and go with the tunnel and head north to the Summit County line,” Gonzalez said.

The grant will cover 75% of the total project cost estimated at $259,572.

Stark Parks will be responsible for $26,893 that will be paid through the use of park-owned employees and equipment to complete the project, Buell said.

The next step for the park district is to consult with agencies to assess environmental impacts and obtain necessary permits from the US Army Corp of Engineers. Stark Parks is also working with the Ohio Historical Society to ensure that no historic properties are affected.

Grants from the Ohio Trail Fund are usually announced in the fall. If funded, the project will begin in the spring of 2023.

“We will use the winter to plan and come up with any kind of plans or designs,” Buell added.

The Park District is accepting public comments on Devonshire Trail until February 18. A feedback form is available online at www.starkparks.com/devonshirefeedback.

“We want to know if you’re excited or have any concerns,” Buell said. “This is your chance to let us know.”

Contact Amy at 330-775-1135 or [email protected]

On Twitter: @aknappINDE