Brownhelm Township Parks & Recreation

Brownhelm Schoolhouse Park

The Brownhelm Schoolhouse Park is located behind the Township Hall at 1940 North Ridge Road in Vermilion. The park has soccer and baseball fields along with basketball courts, a picnic pavilion, and a playground for children.

Brownhelm Lakefront Park

Brownhelm Lakefront Park is located at the end of Woodside Avenue, north off Lake Road (US Route 6), about a mile west of Baumhart Road. Beautiful views of Lake Erie can be seen from the park benches in this park which also has a handicap accessible picnic area.

Brownhelm Township Parks Rules & Regulations

  • No person shall injure, deface, destroy, disturb, or remove any part of the park, signs, facilities, or growing things. Damages incurred become the financial responsibility of the perpetrator(s) or their parents, if a juvenile.
  • No loitering or dumping of any material of any kind in the park except any refuse arising from the normal use and enjoyment of the park. All refuse must be placed in appropriate trash containers.
  • No person may molest, injure, or destroy any wildlife in the park.
  • No portable stoves or grills are permitted in shelters or on compositional picnic tables.
  • No fires except for cooking purposes and only in a designated area.
  • No dumping of hot ashes or fire onto grass, plants, ground, or trash receptacles.
  • No use of firearms, fireworks, or any other explosives.
  • No overnight camping or parking on township park property.
  • No person shall disturb the peace of other park patrons or park neighbors.
  • There shall be no gambling or alcoholic beverages permitted in the park. No one under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug of abuse shall be permitted in the park.
  • No person shall be in the park with indecent conduct or exposure.
  • No person shall use obscene or abusive language in the park.
  • All vehicles in the park must remain on established roadways or parking areas and observe a 10 mile per hour speed limit. No reckless operation shall be permitted in the park.
  • All animals must be on a leash and their litter picked up by the owner or other responsible party.
  • Park facilities are closed from dusk to dawn and all juveniles are subject to the township curfew. Anyone on township property after curfew or closing hours will be considered trespassing and subject to arrest for criminal trespass unless special permission has been previously obtained from a township official.
  • Any person directed to leave the park premises by a township official or law enforcement officer for any misconduct must do so immediately or face charges for criminal trespass. 

Showse Park & Beach

Located in Vermilion on the Lake, this park contains a beach, two ball diamonds, a basketball court, tennis courts, a soccer field, a pavilion and a playground. Located along the shore of Lake Erie, Showse Park gives people the opportunity to stop for a rest or to enjoy the boats and scenes of the waterfront. Showse Park & Beach are managed by the City of Vermilion.

Vermilion River Reservation

Vermilion River Reservation is managed by Lorain County Metro Parks. Spanning two adjacent areas separated by the Vermilion River—Mill Hollow on one side and Bacon Woods on the other—this immaculate park is a favorite of picnickers, naturalists and anyone who just wants to enjoy its natural beauty.  If you're looking to picnic in a beautiful place with plenty of activities for both adults and children, this is an ideal place to come. With 273 picnic tables and four reservable shelters, the Vermilion Reservation draws over 230,000 people a year—making it the number one picnic area in the Lorain County Metro Parks system. It's not surprising considering the spotless maintenance, plenty of open space, 5 miles of wooded trails, a playground and two ponds that attract visiting waterfowl year-round.

Surrounded by tall trees and a split-rail fence, you can't miss the picturesque Bacon House Museum and Carriage Barn at Mill Hollow. During museum hours you can walk through the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The museum features themes of daily living and puts an emphasis on the community life in Brownhelm, including the profound effect the railroad had on the economy and on people's lives.  Just next to the Bacon House Museum, the Carriage Barn offers visitors information about the park and hosts nature programs throughout the year. A large rustic meeting room can be reserved for groups and includes a kitchen and large fireplace.

There's more than natural beauty at Vermilion Reservation. Bacon woods hosts a sizable amphitheater for musical concerts during the warmer months, and the park in general features several special programs including the Annual Car Show (which shows over 1000 cars.)  Perhaps the most striking feature of this reservation is the winding ribbon of shale cliffs carved by the Vermilion River. Millions of years old, these cliffs reveal layers of the past and drop bits of sandstone, shale and turtlerock along the riverbed. Since the Vermilion River has no industry along its banks, it is especially rich in wildlife. Aquatic life includes freshwater clams and several species of darters (small fish that feed along the bottom of the river) that turn brilliant colors during the mating season. Some insect species include mayflies, cadis flies and water pennies (beetle larvae that lie flat against a rock surface and look like pennies.)

The park naturally hosts a range of wildlife, but perhaps most singular at Vermilion River Reservation are the bald eagles. These magnificent creatures can be seen almost daily at Mill Hollow, perched in one of the tall trees near the center of the park. Other wildlife at the reservation is more typical of the area and includes Great Blue Heron, Greenback Heron and various geese and ducks.  Wildflower lovers come from all over in spring and early summer to see the color and variety of these indigenous species which include Dutchman's britches and Blood Root along with a long list of other species found throughout northeast Ohio.

Lakefront Park

The Lorain County Commissioners released a comprehensive Lakefront Connectivity Plan on May 2, 2018. Proposed development projects in several communities along Lorain County’s 23 miles of lakefront are detailed in the plan. Vermilion’s east entrance in northern Brownhelm Township on Route 6 is the site of a proposed lakefront park, walking trail and train observation platform.

The development site put forth by the City of Vermilion sits along the eastern border with the City of Lorain. The 26-acre site is comprised of two individual parcels, with the eastern parcel in Lorain and the western in Bronwhelm Township and Vermilion.

Vermilion Lakefront development would include a Lakefront Park and Nature Center on the Vermilion side of the site. Connecting a bikeway to the nature park would open up the opportunity for the public to experience the beauty of Lake Erie as well as connect with nature. A woodland nature walk would meander through existing and newly planted forest and meadow, and a wetland pond. A 60-foot tall watchtower would invite birders to view migrating species, and visitors to take in the Lake Erie vista.

The current use of the site is as a salvage yard for automobiles. Prior to this the property was used as a holding area for vehicles produced at the former Ford plant to the south, which closed in 2005. The property is bordered to the north by an active rail line and the bluffs overlooking Lake Erie. To the south is the Route 6 corridor and the aforementioned Ford plant, now occupied by Trademark Global, Inc., Heidelberg Distributing, and a majority of the property is owned by IRG Lorain LLC. An overpass used by Ford to move inventory from the plant to the holding lot forms the eastern gateway. Wooded vacant property occupies several acres to the west of the property before transitioning to low-density residential lots. Returning this site back to a more natural state and creatively implementing bioretention elements, it may also serve an educational purpose to understand how nature can filter rain and stormwater runnoff.

The proposed Vermilion Park transforms the existing automobile salvage yard into a lush, green space for active recreation, peaceful observation, and immersion in natural surroundings. A shared use path, accented by a painted blue dotted line guide, would travel the inner perimeter of the park space between the railroad and U.S. Route 6. Parking for 70 vehicles serves visitors seeking use of the open-air pavilion, community rooms, Nature Center, and outdoor facilities. Paved space adjacent to the building would provide placemaking with a fire pit and seating, full size individual swings under pergola shade, and access to the pier over an approximate half acre lily pad pond.

Additional elements enhancing the park would include: approximately one and a half acres of a newly created forest; two acres of wetlands traversed by a pedestrian bridge; small rain gardens; and over five acres of prairie grass meadows. These elements serve as green stormwater infrastructure to collect, attenuate, and treat stormwater while also providing natural habitats for insects, birds, and other species.

A railroad inspired overlook is proposed along the northern edge of the park, providing ADA accessible space to take in views of not only passing trains and ships, but of the stunning vista of Lake Erie spanning the horizon.

Vermilion on the Lake Historic Community Center 

In 1919 a group of investors from the Cleveland area purchased a wooded property with 600 feet of Lake Erie frontage in tiny “Vermilion-on-the-Lake”, Ohio. They cleared the land, and using the very logs they felled, built an approximately 10,000 square foot private community center known as the Vermilion-on-the-Lake Clubhouse.

The big bands of that era were soon accompanied by couples dancing on polished hardwood floors beneath a glittering globe.  Those original hardwood floors, framed by the original log walls, are still there today.  Soon, “Vermilion-on-the-Lake” became a summer playground and a sparkling jewel for well-to-do residents of western Cleveland.

These pre-Depression era high rollers purchased summer cottages throughout the area and shared access to the clubhouse’s 600-foot pristine and sandy beach.  Ladies with parasols strolled the boardwalk of the “Atlantic City of the Midwest”.  As late as the 1950’s, top-notch entertainment attracted society’s elite to the “V.O.L.” to see the big bands of the day, including the leading edge sounds of the “Chuck Berry Trio” performing their hit “Maybellene” one summer Tuesday night in 1955.

But, alas, the luster faded.  Rising lake levels reclaimed the pristine beach, the economy turned sour and many lot owners looked to sell. Maintenance waned and the original owners agreed to deed the property over to the “Vermilion-on-the-Lake Lot Owners Association”.

During the 1960’s “Vermilion-on-the-Lake”, which had been an incorporated village, was annexed by the then “Village of Vermilion” to create the current “City of Vermilion”. 

The VOL (Vermilion-on-the-Lake) Historic Community Center remains today one of the only wedding venue's still situated on Lake Erie's shore.  The 'VOL CLubhouse', as it has been called, demands only modest rental fees which assist the effort to save and renovate this historic building.

The Vermilion-on-the-Lake Historic Community Center Charitable Trust is a non-profit corporation formed under the laws of the State of Ohio as a service organization.  Besides the restoration and operation of the Historic Community Center, their mission includes community service, involvement in the security of the area through our "Block Watch" program, providing a venue for community fellowship and political discussion, and providing education to our citizens about the history and culture of our area.

Through an affiliation with the Lorain County Historical Society, they seek to emphasize the historic nature of this unique building and encourage the businesses and foundations tasked with preserving our heritage to lend a hand in restoring the Historic Community Center to its once glorious condition.

VOL Historic Community Center is located at 3780 Edgewater Blvd, Vermilion, Ohio 44089. Phone: (440) 967-4118.