Extensive Engagement Process Helps Shape a Reinvigorating Master Plan for Ohio’s Largest Inland Glacial Lake Community
Chippewa Lake is a historical site in Medina County owned and operated by the Medina County Park District (MCPD). Native inhabitants used the area as a gathering place and in the late 1800s, Chippewa Lake became destination picnic grounds for the local population. The picnic grounds quickly evolved into a family-friendly amusement park and grew over time, thriving for several decades until its 1978 closure due to amusement park competition and local industry decline. MCPD acquired the lake in 2007, then the amusement park site in 2020, and partnered with OHM Advisors to create a vision for reinventing the area as an iconic regional park.
Our design team’s planning process began with the core historical use of the lake area as public gathering space. We first collected data and completed a site analysis, then held initial client meetings and exploratory conversations with stakeholder groups, finding significant issues of concern to include flooding, lake health and residents’ concerns regarding potential lake overcrowding. From this information we crafted the plan principles of Ecology, Recreation and Equity to guide the creation of our initial recommendations for the lake area and initial concepts for the abandoned amusement park site.
Next, we engaged the public via an online survey garnering feedback from over 1000 participants on desired uses and improvements and followed this with a presentation of the information at the first public meeting. Over 150 community members attended and provided additional feedback—all of which we used to refine a draft master plan. We presented this in a second public engagement meeting consisting of three in-person sessions adhering to applicable COVID-19 protocols. At these sessions we gathered instant feedback from over 100 community members via a live survey and visual concept boards inviting attendees to choose preferred plan elements and used the feedback to further hone the plan recommendations. This extensive public engagement process charted the course to a transformative vision for the reinvigorating Chippewa Lake Master Plan.
Project highlights: planning, landscape architecture, urban design, community engagement, site assessment, environmental engineering