Park district, Friends of Medina County Parks earn top honors

Ohio Parks and Recreation Association has announced its 2023 Annual Awards of Excellence winners. Medina County Park District and Friends of Medina County Parks won the first-place award in the Management Innovation category for the Brown-Trump Homestead and Recovery Farm.

In addition to earning this award, the collaborative project has been nominated as one of three finalists for the 2023 Governor’s Award for Parks and Recreation.

The Governor’s Award for Parks and Recreation was established in 2010 to recognize the one park and recreation project, program, or event that has had the most significant impact on quality of life in the preceding year.

In May 2022, Medina County Park District (MCPD) and its nonprofit partner, Friends of Medina County Parks, Inc. (FOTP), were chosen by executors of the Brown-Trump estate to become the stewards of a well-known but, perhaps, misunderstood ‘farm in the city’ on state Route 18. The property, which includes three houses—most notable of which is a Victorian-era home—plus several outbuildings, was owned by Mr. Edson J. Brown and Mr. Ross M. Trump, both prominent antique dealers. Located at 4092 Medina Road, next to Medina Hospital, the land is protected by a restrictive conservation easement, a legal document held by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Most of the property has to remain open space or be farmed. It cannot host walking trails or be used for any commercial purposes.

In 2023, MCPD entered into a 10-year lease with Hope Recovery Community , a Medina-based nonprofit that provides recovery housing for men with substance use disorder. The document’s execution was 11 months in the making, but it signified the unofficial start of the Brown-Trump Homestead — a unique collaborative partnership that established a first-of-its-kind recovery farm unlike anything else in the Midwest, perhaps even the country.

In place of rent, HRC is responsible for maintaining the residential house, which increased the organization’s housing program by nearly 43 percent.

The OPRA Annual Awards of Excellence will be presented at a banquet hosted by the association on Feb. 6,, at the Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky. One first-place award winner will be presented with the 2023 Governor’s Award, a “best-in-show” award which includes a $500 contribution to a parks and recreation foundation.

The awards are judged by a panel of parks and recreation professionals from around Ohio.