The House of Joy at Grailville (Loveland Magazine 2005 file photo)

by David Miller

Loveland, Ohio – On Tuesday, City Council will be asked to support a grant application that will be submitted by the Cardinal Land Conservancy to the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, for funding to purchase 89 acres of the remaining Grail property that is within the city’s corporation boundaries.

This is the site where Drees Homes was denied the zoning change they requested in 2022 after local residents filled Planning and Zoning chambers to urge that the site be protected. The Kentucky home builder had requested the land become a Special Planning District which could have allowed 209 homes on the

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site. The same parcel is also where the Loveland City School District proposed building a campus until the funding they wanted was denied by voters in 2019.

The site is bounded by O’Bannonville Road and State Route 48 (Oakland Road).

After the re-zoning Drees requested was denied, local Grail members and other local residents coalesced to find the solution that will be presented to City Council on Tuesday.

If acquired by the conservancy, the 89 acres of land would be deeded as dedicated green space in perpetuity. The proposed purchase by the conservancy would be adjacent to the 100-acre Clermont County Park District property, which was also acquired from the Grail using Clean Ohio funding.

House of Joy at Grailville (Loveland Magazine 2009 file photo)

The Conservancy is proposing to portion off the area surrounding the existing structures to allow them to be renovated and utilized for their offices and community meeting space.

Cardinal Conservancy and the Grail will be notified if the application is successfully funded sometime this fall, according to City Manager Dave Kennedy in a memo to Council. The resolution requires no financial contribution from the city.

About Cardinal Land Conservancy

Their address is 790 Garfield Avenue in Milford.

Cardinal Land Conservancy is a private, nonprofit, 501c3 tax-exempt conservation organization, incorporated in September 1999 under the laws of the state of Ohio. Cardinal is a member of the Land Trust Alliance (LTA), a national organization, and Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts (COLT). Cardinal earned LTA accreditation in 2019 and uses LTA’s “Land Trust Standards and Practices” to guide our work as we grow. This accreditation confirms that Cardinal practices sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.

Cardinal Land Conservancy, formerly known as the Citizen’s Land Conservancy of Hamilton County (“the Conservancy”), is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) land preservation organization and land trust. Cardinal holds the title to 11 nature preserves.

Cardinal Land Conservancy is a land conservancy in Southwest Ohio whose mission is to preserve natural habitats, waterways, agricultural lands, and open space in Southwest Ohio.

We protect and restore natural lands with significant habitats that support native wildlife and create scenic vistas for public enjoyment, as well as agricultural lands suitable for the production of food, timber, or other cultivated or natural products. Cardinal acquires conservation interests in real properties which it then monitors and stewards in perpetuity. These include conservation easements, fee simple title, and other conservation interests which are acquired through donations and purchases guided by, and executed through, Cardinal. Once obtained, Cardinal monitors and otherwise stewards the properties and interests through regular oversight, periodic assessment and, if needed, protective action and legal defense. Our service area includes the Southwestern Ohio counties: Adams, Brown, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, Highland, and Warren.

Rinsky Woods Nature Preserve

Clermont County

There are few woods like this in the world. Those woods that exist are found only in Southwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana. Rinksy Woods is the second largest woods of this kind in the world. In fact, it has been designated as an Ohio Natural Landmark by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. These wet flat woods are adjacent to Stonelick State Park, adding to an admirable stretch of greenspace in the area. Details & Trail Map

Todd’s Fork Nature Preserve

Clinton County

Native prairies give way to a 100+ acre woods on this preserve, which also includes the Todd’s Fork of the Little Miami River. Cardinal has several stewardship projects ongoing here including maintenance of the prairie. Maintenance includes prescribed burning which is meant to discourage unwanted invasive plants on an annual basis. Details & Trail Map

Kope Hollow Nature Preserve

Brown County

In Southeast Brown County, the Kope formation (a bedrock formation unique to Southern Ohio and Indiana) runs through incredibly diverse woods. A recent native plant survey listed over 100 native species. This property is also graced with five waterfalls that contribute to Roup’s Run. This water flows into the Ohio River just beyond the bounds of the property. Details & Trail Map

Bortz Family Nature Preserve

Hamilton County

This 119-acre preserve offers respite in deep and cool woods along with views of the wide Ohio and of the Little Miami’s emerald shores. This land appeals to both humans and wildlife because of its diversity. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources determined that this land is likely the home of the endangered Indiana Bat and several endangered species of mussels. Overlooking the confluence of these two great rivers is an American Bald Eagle nest, atop a towering cottonwood tree. Our eagles can be viewed by our Eagle Camera from January to June! Details & Trail Map

Read about the other nature preserve of the Cardinal Land Conservancy.

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