AURORA — The city’s parkland surrounding Trails End, which once was occupied by Aurora Golf and Country Club, now has a name — Paddock River Preserve.
An ordinance naming the park, sponsored by Mayor Ann Womer-Benjamin, Council President George Horvat and Councilman Scott Wolf, was approved Oct. 8 by the seven Council members who were present. Wolf and Councilman Jim Vaca were absent.
The park is named after Harold D. Paddock Sr., who designed several golf courses in northern Ohio and who bought the local course in 1943 during World War II.
"I believe the name gives subtle tribute to what the park used to be, while recognizing the city’s efforts to restore the beautiful [Chagrin] river which traverses it," said Womer-Benjamin.
The mayor explained several local residents, including relatives of current residents Bob and Bruce Harris, volunteered to fix up the clubhouse after the 1943 sale. The course then was re-certified by the Cleveland Golf Association.
An article dated Dec. 14, 1943 from The Plain Dealer, which is on the Aurora Historical Society’s website, reported that Paddock bought the course from William Bauer, who represented interests who had owned the course for two years.
The course was developed in 1925 by W.H. (Bert) Way, a veteran golf professional from Mayfield. The first nine holes opened that year, and the second nine opened about five years later.
When Paddock acquired the property, it consisted of 219 acres. Part of the original clubhouse was a former cheese warehouse. The country club was one of the first in northeast Ohio to offer a swimming pool for use by its members.
In The Plain Dealer article, Paddock stated he was taking a risk by buying the course, but believed the private club golf trend would be away from the metropolitan area of Cleveland "as soon as transportation issues ease up."
After buying the course, Paddock set a membership fee of $75, which included all privileges, including the swimming pool. Cliff Deming was the course’s greenskeeper.
Paddock designed several courses in the Cleveland area, including Sugarbush in Garrettsville, Grantwood in Solon, Pine Ridge, Columbia Hills, Astorhurst, Oberlin Golf Club, Hinckley Hills, Avon Oaks, Spring Valley,Homelinks and Moreland Hills. His son Harold Jr. became one of the region’s top amateur golfers.
The original clubhouse was demolished in the mid 1990s and a new one built. The course closed as a private club in 2008 and was operated as a public course until 2012, when the city acquired the land from Hunter Banbury, with money largely coming from an Ohio EPA grant.
The city eventually proceeded with a Chagrin River restoration project, and the land is now used by pedestrians and bicyclists.
In other action at the Oct. 8 meeting, Council awarded a contract to B. Buehl Industries Inc. (doing business as A & B Roofing) to repair the roof at the city-owned Margaret Harmon house on Page Road.
A & B Roofing’s quote of $10,838 was the lowest of three received. Service Director Harry Stark said 31 sheets of 4-by-8-foot plywood is needed for the repairs.
Council also approved the final plat for Forest Ridge subdivision Phase 2A and 2B on the south side of West Garfield Road adjacent to the Aurora Wetlands, and accepted for dedication water and sanitary sewer lines along Club Drive in Barrington subdivision Phase 5.
Womer Benjamin reported Chagrin Valley Paving has completed the 2018 street paving. She said the firm still must clean up asphalt and debris which was scraped off the streets and piled along them.
"If the company doesn’t clean up the mess, city crews will do it and charge back the cost of the work to the company," Stark said. "We are pleased with the work Chagrin Valley Paving did with the paving."
Answering an inquiry from Councilman Dennis Kovach, Stark said city crews will finish up patching work on streets such as Parker and Eggleston when it comes its turn to use a piece of equipment needed to mill the sections. He anticipates that should be before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Kovach said he has received a lot of complaints about poor cell phone reception and connections on the northeast side of town. He suggested the city look into whether an additional cell tower could be erected at the new athletic complex on Townline Road.
Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.