ASHLAND — Ashland County Park District Commissioner Robert DeSanto believed Davy McClure would help lead the organization into the future.

On Friday, a ceremony to announce McClure’s name would be on a newly announced outdoor education center guaranteed that belief, despite his death almost two years ago.

David “Davy” McClure was an Ashland native who worked as a park commissioner, Ashland City Schools bus driver, and a driving instructor. He died in September 2020 at the age of 46 due to complications from a cardiac arrest.

“We always thought he was the future of the Ashland County Park District,” DeSanto said Friday during an event at Tom Kruse Park attended by McClure’s appreciative parents.

“He was an awesome boy. He did everything and was wonderful and loved by everybody,” said his mother, Peggy McClure.

McClure was also a coordinator and teacher with the park district’s outdoor education program. A a new education center was his dream, according to his father, Andy McClure.

The proposed education center/pavilion will have retractable walls, a fireplace, and a large meeting room, according to a pamphlet distributed at the announcement.

It will be open to schools and teachers, and will be open to the public when not in use by schools. 

“The schools are absolutely onboard. We’ve had every curriculum director from every school district in Ashland. They’re thrilled with it,” DeSanto said. 

The proposed pavilion will sit on 80 acres of park land that features a number of natural habitats like woodlands, wetlands, creeks and wildflower pollinators.

The district also plans on building a new school bus-accessible parking lot for the facility. 

Since the project is still in the development phase, the park district is open to suggestions about what else should be added to the park, Andy McClure said.

The project will cost around $500,000, which the park district hopes to raise via donations.

The district received a challenge grant from local philanthropists Bob and Jan Archer, meaning that if the park district raises $250,000, the Archers will match it.

“It’s a very generous county. I’ve never lived in a place more generous,” DeSanto said.

Community members interested in donating can call the park office at (419) 289-3524 or bring donations into the park offices at 1301 Park St.

Donors must indicate their donation is for the Davy McClure Education Center for it to go toward the project, DeSanto said.

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