It’s the largest land donation Medina County has ever received.
MEDINA COUNTY, Ohio — What price can you really put on nature? Westfield Center resident DeDee O’Neill thinks she knows. She’s lived here over 50 years.
“Being out in nature is really soothing. And we just decided, you know, we love it out here, and so we stayed,” she said.
Her property is over 200 acres, and she’s willing to share. After her husband’s death, she made the decision to donate a large part of this beautiful farm to Medina County Metroparks. It’s the largest land donation they’ve ever received.
“I love the idea of being able to preserve land,” she said.
That’s two-hundred-and-three acres of land. Flowers, trees, hiking trails, butterflies, morning sunrises, and every bit of fresh air will soon be open to the public.
“There are some wonderful old trees and wildflowers….so hopefully under park control, you know, all kinds of people can enjoy it,” O’Neill said.
Medina County Parks Director Nate Eppink is very appreciative.
“I was blown away by the vastness of it,” he said.
Eppink also says that a lot of work has already been done, by DeDee and her late husband Rory.
“She and Rory had done some work, and established native meadows, a fishing pond, and the woods are really impressive,” Eppink said.
DeDee’s late husband Rory was the grandson of William O’Neill, the founder of General Tire. William donated this area of land in Bath Twp., now known as O’Neill Woods to Summit County Metroparks.
Rory and DeDee would have lived here, but in 1970, it was in the early stages of being donated. It was Rory’s wish that the farm he eventually bought in Medina County would be used for a nature preserve as well.
“The day after Rory passed away, I got a call from DeDee and she said I have this property- do you want it?” Eppink said
Medina County is one of the fastest growing areas of development in the state. Not only for commercial property, but also new homes. In the future, DeDee Says that she really wants her land to be not just maintained, but enjoyed.
“We need to help our kids learn to care about the environment. Because if they don’t care, it won’t make a difference to them,” O’Neill said.
DeDee has two adult daughters, who live out of state and weren’t interested in her farm. She will retain about seven acres for her home and small business. The new nature preserve will be located on Greenwich Rd. in Westfield Center. It will be called Rivendell Nature Preserve. Park visitors can begin making their own memories at the end of 2024.