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Creating a nature preserve and park a good use of township land

In the Thursday, Feb. 15, edition of the Butler Eagle, we learned about a proposal in Forward Township to turn a piece of land prone to flooding into a place to benefit all residents.

The township bought a 2.5-acre plot on Valencia Road in May from Tony and Charlotte Wright for $285,000, using state and federal grants to pay for the purchase. The land was prone to flooding; and one requirement imposed by the grants is no permanent structure can be built there.

Susan Oliver-Stough, a township supervisor, introduced the idea to the public on Tuesday, saying it would fit well with the township’s comprehensive plan, which calls for outdoor recreation opportunities for residents.

“We decided to take a look at that and say, ‘That's actually a neat idea, to have a park down there that can take advantage of the nature and something that can be used by the community in many different ways,’” Oliver-Stough said.

Ryan Harr of the Butler County Conservation District also spoke and suggested locations for a boat launch, as well as the need to plant a buffer of native trees to screen the property from Glade Run, which flows nearby. Other possibilities include a field for wildlife and a pollinator garden.

Harr was clear Tuesday that his suggestions were just that, and things are still in the early planning stages. Another idea Harr and Oliver-Stough brought up was the possibility of a contest to have Forward Township residents suggest a name for the park and create a logo.

Mark Wilson, supervisors chairman, said he was impressed with the idea.

No decisions were made Tuesday, and there isn’t a timeline, but the park is a good idea and one the township should pursue. It will give residents a new location to enjoy the outdoors and could offer environmental benefits as well.

We’re curious — and excited — to see what’s next.

— JK

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