Streetsboro -- Thomas Heritage Park is the official name of a new 130-acre park along Route 303 just west of the Target store.
The park is named after Osman Thomas, who owned the land and operated it as a farm in the 1920s, according to Streetsboro Parks & Recreation Department officials.
Thomas Heritage Park was the top vote-getter of four names in an online poll conducted by the Streetsboro Parks and Recreation Department.
"We figured the best way to name the park was to have residents do it," said Greg Mytinger, parks and recreation director.
Gateway Woodlands Park was the online leader until Nov. 9, the last day of voting, when there was "a last-minute push for Thomas Heritage Park," according to Mytinger. He said about 50 votes for Thomas Heritage Park "came out of nowhere."
Mytinger wondered if the last-minute votes were from people on a social media page.
"We can't account whether the votes were from Streetsboro or Nevada," he said, adding the naming contest was supposed to be confined to Streetsboro residents.
The information about the voting process was presented Nov. 26 to City Council members, who voted to select Thomas Heritage Park as the official name.
"It's been insinuated that there may have been some hanky panky," Councilman Chuck Kocisko said, referring to the last-minute surge of votes for Thomas Heritage Park. "But if the top vote-getter was Thomas, that's what it should be." There were many members of the Thomas family who owned the property, according to Hudson's Marlin Wilcox, whose mother, Martha, 91, was the last member of the Thomas family to live at the farm. Wilcox told city leaders that his mother requested the park be named after Osmon Thomas.
John Thomas settled at the site in 1829, followed by the first Osmon Thomas, Jefferson Thomas, Garrison Thomas and the second Osmon Thomas, for whom the park was named, according to Wilcox.
Initially, there were 55 suggestions for names, Mytinger said. The Streetsboro Parks & Recreation advisory board chose the top four names "that best described the park and the area and has a sense of Streetsboro," Mytinger said.
About 150 online votes were cast. In addition to Thomas Heritage Park, the others in the top four were Gateway Woodland Park, which would include a reference to Streetsboro's motto, "Gateway to Progress, and "woodlands" as a recognition of the large amount of woods at the park; Myers Heritage Park, named after Stephen Myers, the first settler in Streetsboro; and Old Saw Mill Park, which would name the park after an old sawmill on the property.