Jefferson Township residents have access to a new park, where they could walk along a mulched trail, fish in a large pond or enjoy a picnic in the new shelter house.
A grand-opening celebration was held Friday, Aug. 29, at Olde Quarry Park, 860 Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road, just north of Jefferson Cemetery.
Parks coordinator Kelly Kiener said the ribbon-cutting celebration recognized the many people and businesses who made the nearly 20-acre park possible.
It's now open from 8 a.m. until sunset every day.
"We are glad to be able to open Olde Quarry, with its trail access to Blacklick Creek, in the southern half of Jefferson Township," said Tom Spring, township administrator.
Park amenities include a shelter house with a large grill and picnic tables for seating up to 64 people, picnic areas, a wheelchair-accessible restroom facility, a fishing pond and walking trails.
The shelter house may be reserved for four hours at a cost of $80 by township residence and $120 for others.
The property previously was private and known as Plumbers Park, Kiener said.
It was acquired in 2005 through a Clean Ohio grant, thanks to the efforts of former township administrator Ellen Walker.
Kiener said the total acquisition project cost in 2005 was close to $2 million, with the township paying a $640,000 local match. The local match for the grant was reached through donated conservation easements from Dominican Sisters, St. Mary of the Springs and Jefferson Water and Sewer District.
"A lot of land was acquired with this, including the land that is now Olde Quarry Park, properties off of Wengert Road (known as the Kelling properties), the water-and-sewer-district easements and the Dominican Sisters easements," she said. "The Dominican Sisters easements were valued at $550,000, and the water and sewer district, $90,000."
It took funding from two NatureWorks grants totaling about $142,000 through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in 2011 and 2012, as well as in-kind donations and multiple Eagle Scouts projects to complete the park, Kiener said.
The first NatureWorks grant in 2011 was to construct the shelter house, picnic areas, driveway and parking, she said.
The total project cost was $51,299. The grant award was $38,243, and the local match was $13,056, Kiener said. The local match was financed with donations from National Lime and Stone Co., Henderson Trucking, Sunbelt Rentals, Machisa Design Services, Waste Management, Vertex Homes, Strait & Lamp Lumber and in-kind labor from the Jefferson Township service crew.
The second NatureWorks grant was awarded in 2012 to build the wheelchair-accessible restroom facility.
Kiener said the total project cost was $141,523. The total grant award was $104,034, and the local match was $37,489 and donated by Jefferson Water and Sewer District (by waving the tap fee) and Keiser Design Group.
Kiener said the park project also was made possible by the volunteer work of Joey Nash, Nick Workman and Troy Ferron of Boy Scouts Troop 317. They initially created the mulch trails and picnic areas.