Today the club was joined by Dan Slagle from Boardman Park to discuss the Southern Park Historic District Master Plan. The Southern Park Historic District consists of a conglomerate of properties that are the remaining tracks of land once comprising this valuable piece of Boardman Township's heritage. In April of 2016, under the auspices of the Boardman Township Park District, a group of Boardman Community leaders, educators and interested citizens came together to form the planning committee. Their purpose was to develop a vision for the Southern Park Historic District. After numerous community conversations, this community-minded group determined the Southern Park Historic District should:
- Connect with and interpret the rich history of the Southern Park Racetrack's place in Boardman Township's heritage
- Cultivate and provide a natural park-like environment for its users
- Provide the community places for recreational, educational, and family oriented activities
- Provide the community with alternative gathering and meeting spaces that are accessible to all people
- Create a new regional destination that is safe, engaging, and unique
The planning committee has drafted the following Mission Statement for the Southern Park Historic District: "The Smith Family Homestead at Southern Park provides a unique opportunity for its visitors to engage, captivate, and educate themselves through exploration of our heritage, our natural environment, and the resources in our community."
From the Mission Statement, the following primary and unique components have evolved:
- Southern Park Stables - Reactivation and restoration of the historic stables and their properties into a working equine training facility.
- Washington Parkette - Conversion of the existing garage into an open-air picnic shelter with amenities along with establishing the initial phase of the labyrinth of bridle/hiking trails that will meander throughout the district.
- Southern Park Promenade - Transformation of Raupp Avenue into the main pedestrian gateway/vehicular hub from which all other activity zones emanate.
- Nature's Playground - A continuation of the bridle/hiking trails and educational amenities including interactive nature-based learning stations.
- Cultural Grove - A continuation of the bridle/hiking trails, among a grove nestled with culturally based activity stations, meeting areas, and an open-air auditorium
- Smith Family Homestead - Nexus of the District containing meeting spaces, natural and man-made environments.