Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc. recently partnered with Eastlake to develop a native meadow at Borac’s Landing.
The project was made possible with the help of volunteers from the Chagrin River Watershed and a grant from the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. The meadow is intended to provide a habitat for pollinators and contribute to a healthy, vegetated corridor to purify stormwater before it flows into the Chagrin River.
“This is another of the improvements we plan to make to the park,” said Eastlake Mayor Dennis Morley. “Borac’s Landing was very popular with fishermen this early fall and last spring. We hope to make a few more improvements next year so our residents and surrounding communities can enjoy the park even more.”
About 10 volunteers from Chagrin River Watershed, AmeriCorps and Eastlake took on the latest project at 437 Riverside Drive.
“There’s an area on the property that was just lawn with a lot of gravel, so they wanted to improve that area and create a meadow that would provide a habitat for pollinators, a habitat for wildlife and more vegetation, which has a whole host of benefits for Chagrin River offers that,” said Kim Brewster Shefelton, Associate Director of Chagrin River Watershed.
Shefelton believes more and more people are realizing the benefits of pollinator habitat.
“We depend on pollinators for the food we eat, and they contribute to a biodiverse ecosystem, and people are becoming more aware of that,” she said.
The .4-acre meadow will be fully grown in about three years, Shefelton said. Volunteers brought in topsoil and distributed a native seed mix with an emphasis on regionally native sunflowers.
Eastlake acquired Borac’s Landing in 2021 and has since aimed to make it a passive park.
“I’ve worked with (Willoughby Mayor Robert Fiala) and other groups to create a walking trail at least from Borac’s Landing to Willoughby Park and Chagrin River Park, the largest utilized park in all of Lake County to the Metroparks,” Morley previously told The News-Herald.
As a member of Chagrin River Watershed, the non-profit organization has done a lot of work to help Eastlake manage areas along the river and improve their parks, including Borac’s Landing, in recent years.
In 2020 and before, the land was a piece of private property and the site of a commercial marina owned by the Borac family.
“There were about 20 boats on the property,” Brewster Shefelton said. “It looked very different than it looks now.”
In 2020, Chagrin River Watershed partnered with Eastlake to help them secure a grant from the Clean Ohio Fund that allowed them to purchase the land and convert it into a park, as well as permanently protect the land. In addition, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, another non-profit local conservation organization, was heavily involved.
“It’s about 10 acres along the Chagrin River, so it’s been converted from a commercial marina to a public park,” Shefelton said. “A ramshackle house was demolished, the area was cleaned up, they planted trees to restore vegetation, removed those 20 or so abandoned boats, installed a playground and improved the pavilion. They do a lot to make it available to the public.”