Valor Acres Memorial Park to feature pond overlook, iconic smokestack

by Martin McConnell

Originally approved by the Brecksville Planning Commission in May, the city has officially announced its plans to improve and add onto the Memorial Park area at Valor Acres, 9000 Canvas Pkwy. The park includes various amenities, such as a stormwater retention pond and a large wooden deck over the pond, according to city officials.

Monica Bartkiewicz, director of planning and community development, said that the park is being developed by DiGeronimo Development LLC as part of wider plans for the development.

The entirety of Valor Acres is owned by the company, which is currently developing it for mixed-use housing, Bartkiewicz said.

“The park is part of the development that is currently in progress at Valor Acres and the Sherwin-Williams Research and Development Center,” she said. “Memorial Park is actually being developed as part of DiGeronimo Company’s plans for the residential section of the site.”

According to Bartkiewicz, the park is more than just a remembrance spot for veterans from northeast Ohio who have passed on. The plans include retaining a spot for a smokestack from the former Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, one of the preeminent veterans hospitals in the region, she said.

“(Memorial Park) includes a loop path, an area that is dedicated to the commemoration of the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center,” she said. “That (center) stood on the site from its dedication in 1961 to 2011.”

The veterans affairs center was a milestone hospital for advancements in veteran-related medicine, according to Bartkiewicz.

“This particular VA hospital was the first official treatment center for pathological gamblers and that was established in the 1970s,” she said. “We’re talking nationwide first. It was the first national center for post-traumatic stress disorder. One of the first drug and alcohol treatment programs was established at that center.”

Bartkiewicz noted that the city does not have a date set for the ribbon-cutting on the park and Valor Acres at large. However, officials will notify the public once they have an announcement to make, she said.

“We think it’s going to be a really great amenity for the residents, visitors and those employed at Valor Acres and at Sherwin-Williams,” she said. “We also are enthused that there’s going to be a nod to all of the notable firsts that occurred at this former VA hospital.”

The Valor Acres development is soon to include more than Memorial Park, according to officials with DiGeronimo Development LLC. The company also has eventual plans for office buildings, various commerce spots, and a hotel, according to development officials.

Photo: Much of the Valor Acres development is now under construction, including property that will soon become Memorial Park. Photo by M. McConnell.