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Park unveils Master Plan for Southern Park Historic District

April 12, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Two years ago meetings began with the Boardman Township Park board of ark commissioners and the Southern Park Historic District Planning Committee, who were charged with coming up with a master plan for the Southern Park Historic District.

The Southern Park Historic District involves the properties that are remaining land tracks involved with the Southern Park race track and stables, and the Smith Family Homestead. It involve a 55 acre section of land with a half-mile racetrack on it. The original property including numerous barns, a grandstand, dance hall, flower garden, picnic areas and baseball fields.

In 1986, according to Boardman Park Executive Director Dan Slagle , the Southern Park Stables were placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Property involved in the master plan include the Southern Park Stables and horse ring, the Washington Parkette, the Smith Family homestead and an area. Boardman Park has a 20-year lease from Boardman Township for the Smith Family Homestead and is awaiting the deed for the Washington Parkette that is across Washington Boulevard from the stables property that is currently used for several programs, including 4H.

As for the future plans, Slagle said it is under way, but will take time.

"We have the concept," he said. "Next is the details and coming up with estimated costs."

The master plan is divided into six areas. The Southern Park Stables property that is currently being used, the Washington Parkette, the Southern Park Promenade, Nature's Playground, Cultural Grove, and the Smith Family Homestead. Each section would provide everything from picnic facilities to playgrounds and hiking trails, including trails for horse riders.

The Smith Family Homestead will be used for conference roms and a history museum to preserve the rich history of the historic residence and race track.

While the master plan deals mostly with the Southern Park Race Track and related properties, there is an element that has long been park of the Boardman Park plan.

"The park has a master plan developed in 2000," Slagle said. "The plan was to have a trail that included a north trail inside Boardman Park and a south trail that followed the Ohio Edison lines to the Field of Dreams [baseball complex]."

He said at Washington Boulevard it would follow the Dominion Pipe Line right-of-way to Market Street, then south to the Boardman High School campus.

"Someone could walk from the park to the high school using those trails," Slagle said. "A spur could be added to run further south to the stables and Smith property."

He said option two would be to following the Youngstown and Southern Railroad line along Southern Boulevard.

These ideas are on the master plan, but the details still need to be worked out.

One concept Slagle said would be great to see is the idea for a "nature's playground" to the east of the Smith Family Homestead. He said the playground could help bring kid's back to nature by giving them an experience in a natural setting.

"we could build a tree house where kids could see what life in a tree is like up close," Slagle said.

As for now, the committees are working on details, putting a pricetag on the plan, and looking at where to start to bring the master plan into reality for all Boardman residents to enjoy.



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