Restoring & Protecting Sand Run Metro Park (Part I)

This is the first in a series of posts about upcoming grant-funded improvements to protect the roads, trails and wildlife of a well-loved park.

As the park district’s oldest and busiest park, Sand Run Metro Park is getting some much-needed love beginning this summer. With the help of an external grant from the Clean Ohio fund, Summit Metro Parks is making several infrastructure and ecological improvements to Sand Run over the coming months.

These improvements aren’t always in plain view, but they are critical to Sand Run’s long-term sustainability. And while construction will cause a temporary inconvenience for pedestrians and drivers, it will ultimately benefit the public by improving conditions in the stream for fish and other aquatic life and protecting the park’s roads and trails.

This Clean Ohio grant funding will help the park district replace pipe culverts with structures that allow fish and wildlife to pass under Sand Run Parkway, create riffle structures and deeper pool habitats for fish, and overcome one of three major fish migration barriers along the stream. In addition to this funding for these ecological improvements, Summit Metro Parks has also received a grant from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to begin infrastructure improvements to protect the park’s road, utilities and buildings.

Sand Run stream includes several man-made impediments to fish migration.

Sand Run Metro Park and its namesake stream are facing two significant challenges:

  1. Because the Sand Run is located in an area that has been highly developed with homes, shopping centers and roads, stormwater runoff has created significant erosion in the park and destabilized the stream’s banks.
  2. Over the decades, infrastructure such as roads, culverts and pipelines have been built as the surrounding communities were developed, creating migration barriers that make it extremely difficult for fish to travel freely throughout the waterway.
The failing pedestrian bridge is closed and the Jogging Trail has been temporarily rerouted around it.

Phase 1 — Ecological Improvements: It’s not often that a project addresses both an ecological need and an infrastructure necessity, but the first phase of our efforts to restore Sand Run does just that. With Clean Ohio grant funding, SMP will remove a bridge in need of repairs located along the Jogging Trail and replace it with a larger culvert running under Sand Run Parkway. This will create a more sustainable long-term solution while also allowing fish and other critters to travel more freely in this section of the stream.

The existing small culvert and Jogging Trail bridge will be removed and replaced with a larger culvert. The trail will pass over the new culvert, eliminating the need for a pedestrian bridge and creating a wildlife corridor under the roadway.

Completing this work safely will require temporary closure of both the Jogging Trail and Sand Run Parkway between Revere Rd. and Sand Run Rd. The closure will begin June 20 and continue for approximately three months. The parking lots at Old Portage, Lone Spruce, Wadsworth and Shadowfield Areas remain open. The Jogging Trail also remains open between Sand Run Rd. and Portage Path, and pedestrians are invited to use the portion of Sand Run Parkway between Portage Path and Merriman Rd., which is currently closed to vehicle traffic.

Additional projects funded by the Clean Ohio grant include creating a fish migration pathway at the railroad bridge near Riverview Road, addressing stream bank stabilization throughout the park, and installing several fish habitat structures within the stream.

Phase 2 — Infrastructure Improvements: In the next phase of work, Summit Metro Parks will utilize funding from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and FEMA to protect the roads, buildings, trails and other infrastructure of Sand Run Metro Park.

Phase 3 — Watershed Improvements: You can help! In the coming years, Summit Metro Parks will implement a suite of educational programming and tools to assist homeowners and businesses within the watershed reduce their stormwater runoff.

Sunrise on Sand Run Parkway

This article is the first in a series to keep Summit County residents informed on progress towards restoring and protecting Sand Run Metro Park. Stay tuned for updates and tips for getting involved!

Summit Metro Parks manages 14,000 acres, 16 parks and more than 150 miles of trails. Find more at www.summitmetroparks.org.

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