Buddy Miller - Donates 40 acres - Lorain County Metro Parks

July 30, 1998

By MORGAN LEWIS, Morning Journal Writer

Miller, Buddy

Buddy Miller stands in his 40 acres of property that he donated to Lorain County Metro Parks. (Morning Journal photo by Ross Weitzner)

"AVON -- Buddy Miller knows how fast Avon is growing, and he wants to keep his 40 acres of nearly untouched woods from being ravaged by developers. So he donated the land to the Lorain County Metro Parks.

The 61-year-old former city construction worker walked around his property yesterday and discussed his decision.

"With the way Avon is building up, I didn't want these woods to be destroyed,'' Miller said. "There is no (nature) in Avon Lake or Westlake no more. It's all destroyed.''

The Metro Parks board accepted Miller's donation of 40 acres yesterday. The land, which will eventually be called the Miller Nature Preserve, will be the first Metro Parks location in Avon.

Miller grew up next door to the property which he purchased and started calling home 30 years ago.

"The value of this property is just unbelieveable,'' said Dan Martin, Metro Parks executive director. "This is an incredible donation. We are so grateful to Buddy.''

Martin wouldn't estimate when the new park will open to the public.

"These things take time,'' he said.

Neither Miller or Martin would discuss the actual value of the property, taking into account the current building boom and demand for land in Avon.

Up the nearly half-mile gravel drive of Miller's property off SR83, sits a cozy home with a garage and a large white barn. But the gardens are the highlight of the estate. Dozens of arrangements of yellow, red, purple and orange flowers, nestle around trees. Long, rolling assortments of plants and flowers line gravel paths and surround a fountain that connects to the French Creek, which runs through the property.

Despite the extensive gardens, most of the property is dense with tall trees.

The future park will be kept close to the way it is now, Martin said. The Metro Parks will loop a trail through the woods and around the gardens and put a bridge over the French Creek.

"Avon's got a wonderful park system,'' Martin said. "This will simply compliment their system.''

Three dogs -- a gray and white spotted mutt named Sparky, a fat rottweiler named Bozo and a small black terrier named Chipper -- plus a donkey named George currently share the land with Miller.

"George is a better watchdog than the dogs,'' Miller said. "You can hear him from a mile away.''

Land developers have approached Miller with handsome offers he said, but he has turned them all down.

"They've been pestering me for years,'' he said. "But I always said no.''

Miller said he has been thinking about donating the property for 15 years, but over the last year, the talks started to get serious.

"I sleep better at night now.'' Miller said. "I'm glad that the (donation) is through. I know the woods are going to be in good hands.''

Miller's wife, Susan, died 11 years ago. Miller said she would have wanted the land to be preserved for others to enjoy. Miller said he would keep four acres until he dies and then that land would be willed to the park.

2023 --- Miller Nature PreserveMiller Nature Preserve