Park district receives largest land donation in county history

The Medina County Park District has received the largest gift of property in its 57-year history: 203 acres located in Westfield Center and Westfield Township.

The land, which was recently donated by Diane (Dedee) O’Neil, is rich in natural resources, including native wildflower meadows, wooded areas and a fishing pond. The preservation of this property is ecologically significant because it protects a portion of Camel Creek and a variety of flora and fauna.

In accordance with the pledge agreement, the park district will begin developing public access to the property no later than the summer of 2024. The district will be working with O’Neil to finalize a concept plan in the coming months.

O’Neil has appreciated the area since she and her late husband, Rory, who passed away in 2020, first moved to the property in the 1960s.

“With a succession of Labradors who have insisted on daily walks, I’ve explored the fields and woods for years, always finding something that brightens my day — the first wildflowers in the spring, the sound of the spring peepers, butterflies and bees on the flowers, the brilliant colors of the leaves in autumn, and the glittering crystals of ice on the trees after a winter storm,” O’Neil said. “With this gift of land to Medina County Park District, the woods and fields will be preserved for others to explore, and I hope they will find a favorite spot, something to brighten their days.”

With her donation, O’Neil has earned the right to name the property, according to MCPD Director Nathan Eppink. She chose Rivendell Nature Preserve. The name “Rivendell” is from J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”andThe Hobbit.”  In the books, Rivendell is a place of peace and safety, where guests are always welcome. ∞