Stark County’s parks district wants to put a new trail in Hartville and Lake Township.

The proposed trail, called the Quail Hollow Connector Trail, would connect Lake Middle/High School to a Stark Parks wetland, GentleBrook assisted living facility, Hartville’s Memorial Park and eventually lead to Quail Hollow Park.

The project would be primarily funded through grant money. Stark Parks plans to apply for funds through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the money would be awarded in spring 2024.

One of those interested residents is 13-year-old Hunter Yost.

One of those interested residents is 13-year-old Hunter Yost. Hunter, a seventh grader at Lake Middle, wrote an essay about the value a walking-and-biking trail would bring to the community to enter in the National Civics Bee, an annual competition for middle school students that encourages them to write about an idea that could improve their community using civics.

Hunter said she thinks the trail would create openness in the community. “We’ve been to campgrounds and stuff, and that’s what they have going from trail to trail,” she said. “So I thought it would be a good idea for our community to have it,” she said.

Hunter’s dad, Jason Yost, works for Stark Parks. After he read her essay, he decided to share it with Stark Parks Executive Director Dan Moeglin. Moeglin said he was impressed by Hunter’s paper. At the time, Stark Parks already had a meeting set up with officials in Hartville and Lake Township to discuss the potential project. Moeglin decided to invite Hunter to the meeting to read her paper. “To me, that was kind of almost the final, deciding factor of ‘do we apply for this or not?'” Moeglin said. “Because when there’s that much passion in a community … it’s like ‘hey, we’ve got to figure out how to get this done.'”

Sarah Buell, projects and administration manager at Stark Parks, said the project was driven by community interest. The parks district has received calls from business owners and members of the public in Hartville expressing their interest in a walking-and-biking path that would connect to downtown and the surrounding areas.

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