After a three-day trial, an Erie County jury entered a verdict confirming that Girard Township has absolute ownership rights in the 125-acre Lake Erie Community Park. The Park had been run as a campground by various non-profit park boards since 1940. Girard Township has recently sought to develop the property as a public park. Its plans include restricting the campground to a smaller area, and adding walking trails, educational kiosks, new ball fields and picnic pavilions.
The Park property, situated in Western Erie County, was purchased by the Lake Erie Community Park Corporation in 1940, but park directors deeded different portions of the property comprising the park to Girard Township in 1941 and 1972. In the lawsuit, the park board contended that the deeds conveying the property to Girard Township were ambiguous, and that there were agreements that restricted the Township’s right to develop the park property. The jury found otherwise, deciding that the Township was the absolute owner of the park property, with the right to develop the property as it sees fit.
The Erie Times-News article relating to this verdict can be found here:
Elderkin attorney David Rhodes represented Girard Township in the matter.