BOSTON MILL VISITOR CENTER: Coming 2019

Each year, Cuyahoga Valley National Park welcomes over two million visitors, with 20 percent coming from out-of-state. However, the park lacks an essential piece to welcome all these people: a full-service, central visitor center. Soon, that’ll change for good.

 

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Peninsula Architects

Fast Facts

  • Location: SE corner of Riverview and Boston Mills roads, Village of Boston
  • Budget: $6.85 million
  • Timeline:
    • 2017: Planning & design
    • 2018: Groundbreaking & construction
    • 2019: Planned opening

Coming Soon

Soon, Cuyahoga Valley National Park will be able to welcome visitors to a new, state-of-the-art visitor center. This “front door” to the park will help orient new visitors to the Cuyahoga Valley and connect locals to its wide array of landscapes and programs.

The new Boston Mill Visitor Center will serve as a central, one-stop resource—a destination for visitors to plan their journeys in the national park and Ohio & Erie Canalway.

The project includes a main visitor center building and two smaller buildings nearby, which will serve as public restrooms and office space. Each will see a complete rehabilitation in keeping with the historic feel of the Village of Boston. An outdoor pavilion and courtyard will provide visitors with park information and resources 24/7, while indoor exhibits will orient visitors to the park and its geography, natural resources, history, & surrounding areas.

In close partnership with the National Park Service, the Conservancy is managing the fundraising, planning, design, and construction of the project. When it’s complete, the Conservancy will “hand over the keys” to the National Park Service, which will be responsible for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the property.

Site Plan

Project Partners

The project is being led by the National Park Service in close partnership with the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the park’s nonprofit friends group. With NPS support, the Conservancy is managing the fundraising, planning, design, and construction process.

The project’s lead contractors are all based in Ohio, making for a uniquely local team:

  • Architecture: Peninsula Architects (Peninsula, Ohio)
  • Engineering: Environmental Design Group (Akron, Ohio)
  • Construction Manager: Regency Construction Services (Lakewood, Ohio)

 

Debbie DiCarlo

Conservancy’s Role in the Project

The National Park Service cannot complete this project alone. Raising the funds to acquire and develop the visitor center needed to be a public-private partnership, because federal budget realities make it impossible for the National Park Service to undertake this project on its own.

The Conservancy has a philanthropic mission to strengthen and provide support for the park. The Boston Mill Visitor Center will enhance all visitors’ experiences in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. To date, 93 individuals, corporations and foundations have partnered with the Conservancy and CVNP by donating a total of $6.85 million for the project.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why does the project cost $6.85 million? The expense of this project includes several major project elements, including acquisition of the property (from a willing-seller private owner), rehabilitation of the main visitor center building and two additional buildings (for restrooms and planned office space), and a central courtyard and “May Barn” pavilion overlooking the Cuyahoga River. The cutting-edge exhibits within the visitor center also account for a large percentage of the project’s expenses, as well as its planned designation as a LEED-certified green building. Lastly, although it’s not necessarily intuitive, historic rehabilitation projects like this one are typically more expensive than building from scratch. That’s because the buildings were constructed before modern public use standards were in place, so their foundations and main structures must be re-built to ensure visitor safety and longevity of the buildings. Despite the expense, the park chose the rehabilitation option because of the value placed on protecting the historic integrity, character, and value of the Village of Boston—so you can enjoy an authentic historic experience in the valley.

 

  • How will parking be addressed? If you’ve visited the park’s current visitor centers on a beautiful summer day, you know how crowded parking areas can be. The Boston Mill Visitor Center project includes construction of a brand-new parking lot, which will hold at least 100 cars outside the center of the village, on Riverview Road. This issue continues to be a top priority throughout the park and is being evaluated on an ongoing basis to ensure a positive visitor experience.

 

  • How will you ensure the safety of visitors so close to the railroad tracks? The visitor center planning and design team is fully aware of the close proximity of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to the new center and is carefully planning ways to mitigate safety concerns around the tracks. The site will be designed with well-defined walkways and “buffer” areas to keep visitors away from the tracks except in designated crossing areas, which will be designed and built with safety precautions. In general, the proximity of the CVSR station to the Boston Mill Visitor Center is intended to create a more integrated experience for park visitors, who might enter the park on the train and get off at the visitor center stop to explore—or vice versa.

 

  • Will there be a gift shop in the new center? Yes! There will be a small retail location operated by the Conservancy on the ground level of the new visitor center, featuring special CVNP products, souvenirs, and educational items relating to the history of the valley. We’ll also continue to operate our nearby Trail Mix Boston store, just across the river from the new center.

 

  • Will the new center be accessible year-round? Many of you wrote that you’d like to make sure visitors know about all the great winter activities in the park (in addition to the more obvious warm-weather activities). So yes, the Boston Mill Visitor Center will be open year-round (specific hours yet to be determined). Even when the center is closed (in the evenings, for instance), visitors will be able to find park and area information from kiosks and other visitor information areas in the courtyard.


Community Support

Many thanks to the following individuals, foundations, and corporate funders who have contributed to this project:


 

$1,000,000+

Cynthia Knight

$500,000 – $999,999

  • GAR Foundation
  • The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation
  • The Kent H. Smith Charitable Trust

$250,000 – $499,999

  • The Cleveland Foundation
  • The George Gund Foundation
  • Burton D. Morgan Foundation
  • The Reinberger Foundation
  • Remen Family Foundation
  • Sigrid and Curt Reynolds

$100,000 – $249,999

  • Family of Ron and Ann Allan
  • Cargill Deicing Technology
  • Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation
  • Howland Memorial Fund
  • Diana Kunze and Arthur Brown
  • Jean Thomas Lambert Foundation
  • Lehner Family Foundation
  • Medical Mutual Community Investment Fund of Akron Community Foundation
  • In Memory of Josephine H. Nelson

$50,000 – $99,999

  • Anonymous
  • Doug and Karen Cooper
  • FirstEnergy Foundation
  • Thomas and Lisa Mandel Fund of the Mandel Family Foundation
  • Ohio & Erie Canalway Association
  • M.G. O’Neil Foundation
  • Roger Read
  • The Sisler McFawn Foundation
  • Sue and George Klein

$20,000 – $49,999

  • The Akron Garden Club
  • Bowman Trust
  • CVNP Centennial Grant
  • Dana and Dick Klein
  • Peg and Gerry Kuechle
  • Philip Maynard
  • John A. McAlonan Fund of Akron Community Foundation
  • Tom and Marilyn Merryweather
  • NPS Civil Rights Interpretation (Carl Stokes, Cuyahoga River)
  • Parker Hannifin Foundation
  • Doug and Noreen Power
  • Roush Memorial Fund of Akron Community Foundation

$1,000 – 19,999

  • Christa Jo and Dave Abood
  • Dick and Joan Ainsworth
  • President’s Fund of Akron Community Foundation
  • Nancy Andrews Family Foundation
  • Lois Arnold
  • Tom Baechle
  • Christy and Charles Bittenbender
  • Ronald and Wendy Bower
  • Rob and Alyssa Briggs
  • Jim and Eve Brown
  • Deborah Cook
  • John and Betty Dalton
  • Maude de la Porte
  • Lynne and Bill Dowling
  • Art and Shirley Duffy
  • Ernie and Bonnie Estep
  • Rita Frantz
  • Harold and Marilee Gaar
  • Robert P. George
  • Fred and Holly Glock
  • Sue Grimm
  • Don and Lynn Hanigan
  • Mike and Marti Hardy
  • Emily and Mark Holiday
  • Jim and Claudia Hower
  • Brinton and Julie Hyde
  • Sarah and Bob Jaquay
  • Bryan and Susan Kinnamon
  • Frank and Pamela Kokomoor
  • Roger and Sue L’Hommedieu
  • Mimi Jackson Lewellen and Dick Lewellen
  • Barbara and Riley Lochridge
  • Dan Luciano
  • Marsita and John MacDonald
  • Doug and Lisa MacKay
  • Stephen and Sonja Metzler
    Julie and Don Moul
  • Jim Nash and Joanne Kim
  • David and Sarah Nix
  • OMNOVA Solutions Foundation
  • Joe Payer
  • Janet Palcko
  • Ellen and John Perduyn
  • Frank H. and Nancy L. Porter Fund
  • Donald and Karen Rohde
  • Mark Parker and Sue Serdinak
  • Christopher Brandt and Beth Sersig
  • Frederick and Elizabeth Specht
  • William Busta and Joan Tompkins
  • Mary Jane and John Schremp
  • Michelle and John Tortorella
  • Marilyn Shea-Stonum and Gary L. Stonum
  • Robert A. and Jean C. Meyers Family Fund
  • John Kitto and JoAnn Bedore
  • Sandra Selby
  • Clark and Holly Selvaggi
  • Sandra and Richey Smith
  • Ed Metzger
  • April and Charlie Walton
  • Dick and Jane Whitehead
  • Dick and Ann Whitney
  • Deb Yandala and Sherm Bishop
  • Sylvia and John Yankey

Jeffrey Gibson

Learn More

To view National Park Service documents about the project, visit ParkPlanning.nps.gov and search for “Cuyahoga Valley National Park.”

For more information, contact Patty Stevens, the Conservancy’s Capital Projects Director, at 330-657-2909 ext. 120 or pstevens@forcvnp.org.