Pickerington Times-Sun

Paving at Busey Road Park

Required study throws wrench in plans

ODNR grant mandates $6K archaeological study before work can begin

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Violet Township officials were surprised to learn a recent grant it received came with an unexpected prerequisite for approval.

Although the township obtained a $22,500 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources a couple of months ago to be used for improvements to its newest park on Busey Road, township leaders discovered it first had to conduct an archaeological study at the 32-acre site.

"The grant was for walking paths, picnic shelters, essentially those types of items," said Violet Township Engineer Greg Butcher. "In the ODNR review of the grant, we were required to perform an archaeological study of the park to receive the grant."

Township Director of Operations Bill Yaple said the Ohio Historical Society oversaw the study. The township hired the firm EMH&T to conduct the site evaluation to determine if the parkland contained any cultural artifacts or historical structures.

"They go out and do a foot-deep dig in a lot of locations to determine if they want to do any further study," said Yaple.

EMH&T completed the preliminary archaeological study for about $6,000, he said.

"The initial report is that (the park) is clean," said Yaple.

Now, township officials are awaiting a final report to see if they can proceed to the next step, which will entail paving of walking trails at Busey Road Park.

"We don't have a final report, but virtually nothing was discovered or encountered that would preclude the township from developing it as intended," said Butcher.

With a chunk of grant money expended on the archaeological study, that leaves $15,000 left from the grant to pave the trails.

"I was hoping to get started (paving) a month ago," said Yaple.

He said the township is paying a 30 percent match toward the grant, thus making the total funding $28,000 for park improvements.

"We're talking about doing a ... shelter or two in there, but we'll see how the paving goes," said Yaple.

Butcher said the asphalt trail work will be finished by the end of 2013.

"We'll likely contract that work out," he said. "We've been delayed by the archeological study request; however, it will be important to have it paved by the end of the year.

"There's already a mulch trail within the woods itself. The (paving) will be outside of the woods along the access drive in the open space of the park," he said.

Yaple said additional money will have to be spent to remove ash trees infested by the emerald ash borer in the park's roughly 14 acres of woods.

"That's separate (funds). That's a management issue," said Yaple.

He said he met with one forester already and anticipates getting additional quotes from another.

The township spent $4,084 of its own money in 2012 on the manufacture and installation of a double-faced, sand-blasted entrance sign.

Butcher said part of the park could host the next Violet Township Fire Department station in the future.

"There is a five-acre portion of the park property that has, very preliminarily, been identified as a potential site for a new fire station," he said.

Yaple said despite its unfinished state, Busey Road Park is being used by area residents.

"We've definitely seen some usage," he said.

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