Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nassau Astronomical Observing Station saved

36" Warner & Swasey telescope

"Cleveland Foundation donates $200,000 to Observatory Park"

August 28th, 2013

The News-Hearld

The Geauga Park District has surpassed the halfway mark to its $1.175 million fundraising goal of restoring and renovating the Nassau Astronomical Observing Station at Observatory Park in Montville Township.

The park system announced the latest contribution Wednesday: $100,000 from the Cleveland Foundation and another $100,000 from the foundation's Lake-Geauga Fund. Robert Eckardt, executive vice president of the Cleveland Foundation, said the grant was awarded as part of the foundation's 2014 centennial anniversary.

"The Cleveland Foundation has a long history of supporting green spaces throughout Northeast Ohio, and we are proud to be able to play a leadership role in protecting a park that is such a treasure to the Geauga community and to our region," Eckardt said.

The Nassau station, named after Case Western Reserve University's observatory director and chairman of astronomy, John Nassau, opened in the 1957. Back then, researchers traveled east to Montville to avoid light pollution, but as Geauga County developed, the university mothballed the station and relocated its astronomical research efforts to Arizona.

Geauga Park District bought the observatory and its 218 surrounding acres in October 2008 from the university for $915,000.

Observatory Park opened in June 2012 after a $2.1 million fundraising campaign and renovations. The Geauga Park District Foundation is focusing its fundraising on the Nassau station and since February, has raised $590,000.

The project includes installing green restrooms and solar panels, an elevator, a museum of Northeast Ohio's history on astronomy, educational space in the station's former living quarters, more parking and a trail linking the Nassau station with the Observatory Park's main campus.

The work also would refurbish the Cleveland-made Warner & Swasey 36-inch Cassegrain telescope.

"Over the years, the Nassau station has helped thousands of scientists, teachers and students see the heavens from a different perspective, and it's wonderful to know that that opportunity is going to be available to teachers and students for generations to come," said Paula Aveni, capital campaign chairwoman.

Observatory Park and Restoration of Nassau Station

Warner and Swasey Observatory

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