GREENVILLE — In a June 8 Darke County Park Board meeting at Shawnee Prairie Preserve and Nature Center in Greenville, Ohio, Director Roger Van Frank shared updates on many projects that are under way, including plans for the district’s bike trail, a birdhouse, and a newly acquired property.
Construction has begun on the end of Phase Four and the beginning of Phase Five of the Bike Trail. Also, the Raptor Mews, a birdhouse designed to house one or more birds of prey is moving along. The footers are in and volunteers are ready to start building the super structure soon.
“Once again, we are getting enough volunteers which will make our labor in this next to nothing,” Director Van Frank said.
The Raptor Mews cost is approximately $9,700 paid for with a few grants. More funding will come from the 5K Raptor Run/Walk, scheduled for August 5. Director Van Frank’s hope is that the Raptor Mews is completed in time to have a grand opening coinciding with Prairie Days, in September. The structure will house at least three birds, including Shawnee Prairie Preserve and Nature Center’s very own “Greta,” a blind Great Horned owl.
In other news, the board discussed a lease it entered into with Bish Properties, LLC, with an option to buy the old Spencer Landscape property. The 2.883 acres of land has been surveyed and the property is in the process of being cleaned. Part of the project is to put in a pollinator field to be seeded within the next two weeks, according to Van Frank. He said the park will appreciate any free clean top soil to be dropped off at 404 Ohio Street North in Greenville. The board wrote a grant and will purchase the property. The total project cost is $354,000.
“We’ve been notified that as long as we meet the 50 points needed for a greenspace acquisition, and we believe we will, we will receive the requested grant funding for that area,” Van Frank said.
Another reason for the purchase of the property is to save money by putting a planned park maintenance facility in the back half, Van Frank explained. Renovation plans are still being decided for the front half of the building, which will include plans for creating a venue for meetings and other events. Another use in the works is to possibly have a solar and wind-power education center on the premises. It is also an adjunctive location for walking, biking and canoeing/kayaking. In addition, the outside of the property is attached to Alice Bish Park, which will help protect the property.
“This is a great opportunity and we are very fortunate to have the property,” Van Frank said.
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