A monument stands at a former roadside rest area in northern Paulding County, which has been transformed into a park.
A monument stands at a former roadside rest area in northern Paulding County, which has been transformed into a park.
CECIL – The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 1 real estate team partnered with the Paulding County Park District regarding the transfer of the former roadside rest area located on County Road 424 in New Rochester.

The roadside park, located just north of the village of Cecil, was previously owned by the state of Ohio. Following the relocation of U.S. 24, the park was no longer needed. In efforts to restore the park to its full potential, the Paulding County Park District showed its willingness to accept ownership of the property.

Situated along the southern banks of the Maumee River, New Rochester was founded in 1835 and named the first county seat, and remained so until the year of 1840. The former roadside rest area is well known for being a significant historical remnant of Paulding County.

In 2008, the former U.S. 24 became County Road 424 when U.S. 24 was relocated and expanded to a four-lane highway. This project was known to many as the Fort to Port project, which realigned U.S. 24 from Fort Wayne to Toledo.

“It’s always been a historical site for Paulding, and in the last five years, the parks district has been very active, so we got involved in seeing what we could do to get access to the rivers. It really is a beautiful place and we want to restore and maintain its historical beauty,” said Linda Hodges, president of the Paulding County Park District.

The park district is in the process of restoring multiple parks throughout the county in hopes to take full advantage of the two rivers that run through the county: the Maumee River and the Auglaize River. The end goal of these restoration plans is to provide scenic areas for residents and visitors to swim, fish, boat and picnic and to bring back significance to these historical places.

“We have very ambitious plans and we are just getting started,” Hodges added.

There was no cost to the park district to assume control of the property. ODOT’s only requirement was that the park district ensure the site continues to provide a public use and that the environmental resources are protected.

“We both benefit from this. ODOT no longer has to maintain the site, because it is no longer on our highway system and we are grateful that the Paulding County Park District has so much passion to continue to provide public use of such a historical site,” said Shell Miller, real estate administrator at ODOT District 1.

The Paulding County Park District is dedicated to acquiring, developing and preserving parks and recreational areas for the use and enjoyment of the citizens of Paulding County,Ohio. For more information, visit their page at www.facebook.com/PauldingCountyParkDistrict.