CHAGRIN FALLS — The Western Reserve Land Conservancy announced Tuesday that it had received an anonymous $200,000 matching gift toward purchase of the historical Bancroft house and property on Grove Hill.

Terms of the gift stipulate that the donation will match 50-cents on each dollar donated. Kendrick Chittock, the land conservancy’s development officer, described the donor as “someone with great adoration for Chagrin Falls and its history.”

Other individuals have donated $49,210 so far.

The gift will go toward the initial fundraising goal of $600,000 that must be reached by May 9.

Full purchase price of the house and 1-acre parcel is being kept confidential under terms of the conservancy’s agreement with owner Robert Vitt.

Mr. Vitt’s plan to build five condominiums on the Grove Hill property was met with opposition from local residents who mounted a “Save Grove Hill” campaign against the proposal. The conservancy then got involved following the efforts of residents.

The conservancy and residents want to create a new park with walking paths and resting spaces at the northwest corner of West Cottage Street and Main Street, know as Grove Hill. The Bancroft house and lot would be sold separately with stipulations that the buyer retain and restore the historical structure.

“I am very proud of what we have done and confident we will get there,” Mr. Chittock announced adding this major gift should go a long way toward encouraging others to do the same.

He pointed out that terms of the stimulus package just passed by the U.S. Congress in response to financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic provides “some great opportunities” for philanthropists.

Mr. Chittock credited members of the Save Grove Hill neighborhood committee and Village of Chagrin Falls officials for promoting the fundraising effort.

“We are on our way there and I am so proud of what we have done in such a short period of time,” he added. The fund drive was announced one week ago.

Those wishing to add their monetary gifts toward rescuing of the property can obtain additional information at

“We are grateful to the land conservancy for once again stepping up to make something special happen and we urge all of our citizens and businesses to support this effort,” Mayor William Tomko said in a written statement.

 Council President Erinn Grube expressed her gratitude and acknowledged the need for the community to rally behind this deal.

“As council president and as the mother of young children in Chagrin, I could not be more grateful that the land conservancy has made this possible,” Mrs. Grube said. “Now we must come together to provide the funds for this vision to be realized.”

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

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