GATES MILLS — More than 100 people were on hand last Sunday for the long-awaited opening of Marston Park.
“It’s a dream come true,” Mayor Karen Schneider said.
The $103,459 park is named for the Marston family, longtime residents of the village, and features attractions for all ages including a pavilion, playground, tennis courts, bocce courts, picnic tables and benches and fitness stations. Jenga and cornhole were also set up in the grass for the grand opening, and will be available upon request for those who visit the park.
Mayor Schneider explained that she raised her kids in the village, and back then there was not a playground or community park where children could play. Mayor Schneider said that since she is in a position now to advance the village, she prioritized building a park. She was instrumental in securing a NatureWorks grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for $77,595.
The remaining construction cost of $25,865 was paid for by the village and donors with the Marstons as the largest contributor, Service Director Dave Biggert said. Many donors also requested that their funds be used for the maintenance of the park rather than its construction. Councilwoman Sandra Turner said that brothers Tucker and Charley Marston are longstanding residents of Gates Mills and have made significant contributions to the community. Their father, John Marston, was the mayor of the village from 1966 to 1983, Dr. Turner said.
“This is a great testament to the commitment of our community to augment the family life and vitality of Gates Mills,” Dr. Turner said.
Resident Maureen Standing Donlon, 40, grew up in Gates Mills and moved back with her husband and two daughters from Chicago a year ago. She said that she used to walk to a playground with her 4-year-old and 6-year-old, but was not able to do so after she moved. Ms. Standing Donlon said that she is thrilled with the new park.
“I love the park. There’s something here for young families and it offers things to do in the village,” she said. “This is a fun place to have a playdate and it’s peaceful along the river.”
The opening day had a full schedule, with a carillon concert by Bernadette Alpers, a park dedication, a concert by the Cleveland Jazz Band, yoga instruction and balloon sculptures. Representatives from Davey Resource Group also gave a presentation on restoration of the Chagrin River.
Molly Laks, 57, said that she is also excited about the park. Ms. Laks said that young people can enjoy the park and it offers activities for residents to take part in.
Resident Mary Schmidt, 53, said that Marston Park is conveniently located next to the Gates Mills Arboretum. People who visit the park could also take a stroll through the arboretum next door, she added.