Park Joins With Villagers In Opposing Planned Military Base

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - The Cuyahoga Valley National Park has joined the side of suburban residents who oppose the proposed construction of a U.S. Army Reserve base nearby.

John P. Debo Jr., park superintendent, put his opposition in a letter presented to the Army Reserve on Thursday, the day a public meeting was held on plans for the base in Boston Heights.

Debo wrote that the base would be "inconsistent with our goal of promoting land uses on neighboring lands which are compatible with the park." He did not attend Thursday's meeting.

The Army Reserve property would include several buildings and parking lots and host hundreds of reservists each weekend. The Reserve hopes to break ground in fall 2004 and finish within two years.

Residents worry about increased traffic and fear that the base will hurt the rural character of the village of about 1,200 people.

Maj. Michael Kiene, of the Office of the Chief for the Army Reserve, said the base would be compatible with the area.

"We thought it was a good fit with the zoning," he said.

The national park makes up nearly one-third of Boston Heights, about 1,475 acres. The park's eastern boundary is about a half mile from the proposed base, which is planned for 22 acres.

The Reserve wants to consolidate its five Northeast Ohio Reserve sites. While other locations in the Cleveland area were considered, Kiene said the Boston Heights site was chosen primarily because it was the most affordable. The land would cost $990,000.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)