As readers can see on the Advocate's Page 1 this week, a lot of activity is about to commence at the city-owned former Hartman property on the west side of Townline Road, not too far north of Route 82.

It's just the latest in the development of one of the finest park systems for any city the size of Aurora in Northeast Ohio.

Although Aurora has undertaken several projects to enhance its parks in recent years, the Hartman project might well be the most exciting since the beginning of Sunny Lake development many years ago.

The Townline Road facilities may some day rival Sunny Lake as the city's premier park property. Soccer and baseball / softball fields are on the horizon at Hartman, plus a really neat tree arboretum and cross country course. A handful of picnic tables / shelters also could be a future amenity.

And then there's the possibility of developing the Hartman maple sugarhouse into an attraction which could lure some Northeast Ohioans to Aurora who now are not that familiar with the city.

During the June 3 fishing derby at Sunny Lake, I chatted with Parks-Recreation Director Jim Kraus about the potential of the Hartman property, and he agreed with me it could be a huge asset for the city.

With a nice complex of ballfields there, the city will enhance its opportunities to host out-of-town teams for tournaments, and the cross country path could lead to the high school hosting an annual invitational meet.

There also is the possibility of hosting distance runs there. Currently, several take place each year at Sunny Lake Park, and a second picturesque venue certainly would be welcomed by runners.

Kraus mentioned that plans for school visits to the Hartman sugarhouse are still a vision of his and other city officials, and he alluded to the fact that the site could even host an annual maple festival.

A visit to the property for a ballgame, picnic, cross country meet or maple festival could be combined with a visit to the nearby Novak Sanctuary, which is one of three Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland's properties in Aurora. That would be like heaven for nature lovers!

Aurora has made land preservation a priority in recent years, acquiring several farms such as the Harmon properties on Page and Bartlett roads, Spring Hill Farm on East Pioneer Trail and the Hartman spread.

Combined with the three Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland preserves which add up to more than 500 acres, the city is home to about 2,000 total acres of parks and green space. Quite a legacy for a city of its size.

Most Aurorans are familiar with the park amenities the city offers, but for newcomers who may not be, take a look at the two stories about the city parks and Audubon parcels in the "Explore Aurora" magazine that was inserted into the Advocate's May 31 edition.

Those will give you plenty of insight.

Speaking of parks, Sunny Lake was a gorgeous place to be June 3 when the fishing derby was going on.

There was ample sunshine and it wasn't too hot.

A perfect way to kick off the summer. Now if it just wouldn't rain in September when the classic car show takes place there!

Email: klahmers@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189