by Bob Gaetjens

Gateway News Editor

Streetsboro -- Points of historic interest, schools, recreational resources and regional destinations ought to be connected via a web of hike and bike trails through sensitive environmental areas and neighborhoods when the Portage County Parks District's master plan comes together.

About 20 to 30 people interested in the future of parks in Aurora and Streetsboro gathered May 23 to hear an outline of the process of creating a master plan and identify possible opportunities for creating "greenways" and hike and bike trails.

Portage County Park District Executive Director Christine Craycroft said the meeting was one of a series around the county during which communities would be brought together to pool their knowledge of surrounding areas to help knit a county system of trails.

Ultimately, she said she hopes to present a detailed map of plans which she would use to obtain grants to make the future trails on the map become a reality.

"We hope the whole project will be wrapped up by March 2008," she said.

The meeting was the second of seven during which public input is sought. The next will focus on Kent, Franklin Township, Ravenna Township and Sugarbush Knolls and will be June 21 at the Davey Tree Institute in Kent.

After Craycroft and Charles Frederick, a landscape architect and Kent State University professor, introduced attendees to reg-ional trails around Streetsboro and Aurora, they were broken into groups to identify possible corridors for trails and greenways.

After discussing in small groups where connections could be made, each group briefly presented its findings.

Streetsboro Parks and Rec Director Elaine VanHoose said the maps presented closely resemble those Streetsboro is developing in its own parks master plan.

"It's very encouraging," she said. "It's almost a mirror."

Groups presented two significant north-south greenways running through both communities. The western corridor would follow a railroad easement near Tinkers Creek from around Herrick Fen in Streetsboro north toward Streetsboro Preserve and Aurora Lake.

The eastern corridor would follow the Cuyahoga River and its watershed through sparsely developed areas of Streetsboro and protected areas in Aurora near the Chagrin River.

E-mail: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3151