Special Projects

Save Grove Hill

A New Park for a Historic Property

Chagrin Falls is a place where traditions endure and neighbors unite to celebrate it. Thanks to the passion and generosity of the Chagrin Falls community, as well as the Land Conservancy’s vision and expertise, Chagrin Falls will preserve the historic Bancroft home and create a new public park at Grove Hill.

“There may have been a time when preservation was about saving an old building here or there, but those days are gone. Preservation is in the business of saving communities and the values they embody.”  –National Trust for Historic Preservation leader Richard Moe

The Process of Preservation

In early May 2020, the Land Conservancy raised enough funds to save the iconic Grove Hill property in Chagrin Falls from a developer. The 1878 Bancroft House, with its majestic views of the village, along with the stone wall built by WPA workers during the Great Depression, will both be preserved as keystone pieces of Chagrin Falls history.

Challenges in the Process

It was not easy. The Land Conservancy spent weeks negotiating with the developer, in addition to studying the property’s potential for preservation and working with the Village of Chagrin Falls to create a public park.

Fundraising began just as COVID-19 took hold and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued stay-at-home orders. Our agreement with the developer was time-bound: we had five weeks to raise $600,000 to purchase the mansion and surrounding property.

A Full-Court Press

As community volunteers organized on social media and canvassed Chagrin with yard signs to galvanize support, the Land Conservancy and Save Grove Hill committee managed a comprehensive campaign. Major gifts were solicited, thousands of donor letters were sent and follow-up calls were made fully remotely. In five weeks, we reached our goal and protected the historic home and property, preserving it for future generations.
Taking the Next Steps

Following conclusion of the campaign in May 2020, in early December 2021, the Land Conservancy established permanent protections for the one-acre property, guaranteeing that Grove Hill will remain undeveloped. The Land Conservancy sold the Bancroft House to a buyer committed to restoring the property and preserving its historical significance.  It also transferred ownership of the Grove Hill property to the Village of Chagrin Falls. Plans are underway to create a park on the lower half of the property, enhancing Chagrin’s neighborhood atmosphere.

Preserving the Property's Trees

During December 2021, Chagrin moved forward with tree maintenance contractors and the Village’s landscape architect reviewed the Grove Hill Park property with the goal of preserving and enhancing healthy trees, while removing diseased and hazardous ones to allow for future park development. The Land Conservancy was engaged in every step of this process. An arborist planted new flowering native trees on the property in spring 2022 to re-establish the tree canopy and beautify the property.
Making it Official

The new Grove Hill Park Commission has included a vote to place Grove Hill Park into the Conservation District. The group enlisted the help of the village arborist, who immediately assessed the property to protect the remaining healthy trees. The group also discussed park accessibility, bench locations, the process for public input on the park creation process, and eliminating invasive species on the site. The Commission began conducting public meetings in the spring of 2022.