CHAGRIN FALLS — Village Council added to its collection of public parkland on Monday by accepting a gift from the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Little Rooster LLC, of land at the southeast corner of North Main Street and West Cottage.

The closing date on the transfer is Aug. 5. Council accepted the 0.3 acre of future green space by ordinance and unanimous consent.

Through terms of the agreement, the village will pay closing costs and reimburse the conservancy up to $8,000 in fencing and gates to separate the future park from the Bancroft home property.

Acceptance of the property sets in motion a “to do” list before the corner lot can become a passive use village park.

Among them is seating a four-member Grove Hill Park Committee including two elected officials and two residential members which will call public input meetings and create a plan for the park. A dog park is expressly prohibited.

The group will submit its recommendations to the village Parks Commission, which will make recommendations to council and continue to oversee the park plan through to its completion.

The small park parcel already features a set of stone stairs built at approximately the same time as the WPA stone wall that borders the east side of the property and the North Main Street right of way also known as Grove Hill.

The stairs are expected to be part of the final plan as an access point to the park, village officials said.

The new, yet unnamed park was part of the 1-acre Bancroft House lot which was acquired by the conservancy through a community fundraising event that gathered more than $600,000 in pledges last spring in something of a cliff hanger, which went right down to the deadline wire.

In turn, the home and land were sold by the conservancy to a family whose identity has yet to be formally released. The conservancy named Little Rooster LLC’s sole member is Frank Gallucci.

The agreement specifically includes input from the Bancroft home buyer in respect to views and “reasonable requests for removal and alteration of vegetation.”

Plus, all development plans will be submitted to the buyer to avoid concerns for the existing house during excavation and grading, village officials said.

The deadline for the new park completion or how and what it will be named are items still under consideration.

The agreement includes acknowledging the conservancy’s “emergency intervention” to save the Bancroft house and acknowledge the organization’s leadership in organizing the fundraising effort by permitting the conservancy’s parks and preserves branding and signage.

Caveat to the purchase is that the new owner must rehabilitate the house, which was under threat of demolition by the former owner Robert Vitt and his Silver Leaf Ventures’ that had plans to move or demolish the historical Bancroft house and build several townhomes on the land.

The conservancy and its president and CEO Rich Cochran also took the lead in successfully negotiating with Mr. Vitt for acquisition of the full 1-acre of property and home.

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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