by Laura Bednar
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park began a $2 million project in the fall of 2021 to remove vacant structures on Northeast Ohio national park land, including four structures in Sagamore Hills Township.
According to a letter from the CVNP superintendent, the structures demolished in Sagamore were a large house, small house, woodshed and steel shed at 1046 W. Highland Rd. Township Trustee John Zaccardelli said the structures had been abandoned years ago.
The project was funded by the Great American Outdoors Act with the goal of “restor[ing] natural landscapes throughout the park,” according to a CVNP press release.
Zaccardelli said razing the structures would keep the area safer. “People can’t enter and be mischievous,” he said. “The structures were not attractive and were decomposing.”
There are 33 non-historic buildings to be knocked down across Sagamore Hills, Cuyahoga Falls, Boston Township and Brecksville. The national park acquired the buildings and surrounding land with the intention of reforesting and restoring the land for the public, according to the release.
Zaccardelli said the land and structures are government-owned, so the township has no jurisdiction over the area. He made the CVNP aware of another vacant and dilapidated structure further down W. Highland Road west of Boyden Road.
“The township can’t impose fines or have the county condemn the house,” he said.
The home is not on the CVNP’s list this time around, but Zaccardelli said the CVNP told him the structure is slated for demolition in the future.
He said the buildings that were demolished in the fall were less visible, whereas the blue home on W. Highland is visible to residents across the street. “It affects the property values of those nearby,” he said. “I’ve received numerous calls and complaints.” ∞