Prairie Township has planted a money tree at its community center.

The 20-foot tall "giving tree" sprung up almost overnight on a wall inside the center, 5955 W. Broad St., to serve as recognition for those who donate to the newly formed Prairie Community Fund.

Much like sales of paver bricks, different parts of the tree – made from locally sourced wood and painted to look like bark and leaves -- will mark different giving levels and will be personalized to honor the donor.

"So many people are excited about this project that we're hoping the tree becomes the way that anyone can donate and feel like they are a part of the program," said James Gant, the township's recreation director.

"They are excited about what it means for the community and the ability of it to grow."

The trunk of the giving tree is made of mostly ash wood, while the leaves are maple, said Tim Rose, owner of Central Ohio Tree & Stump Removal.

Rose and his company produced the tree from locally milled lumber. His son, Corey Rose, is a Prairie Township firefighter.

"That was lumber from trees we cut down and wood that we had dried," Rose said. "No two pieces of wood are the same exactly – you never know what you're going to get until you run that saw through the log."

Rose said a few hundred individual pieces make up the tree, and if the campaign is successful, more leaves can be added.

"I thought it was a great idea from the get-go," he said. "The wood isn't being wasted and it's made into something meaningful."

The pieces range in price from $100 for a branch to $1,000 for a section of the trunk. Three leaf colors -- dark green, light green and greenish-blue – will recognize donors of $175, $250, and $500 respectively.

The community center also is selling $10 paper leaves, which will be posted on the walls and windows as a way for everyone to be able to contribute, Gant said.

"We'll also allow families to go in together and purchase leaves," he said.

For more information about the project or to purchase a portion of the tree, visit prairietownship.org/345/Prairie-Community-Fund.

Earlier this year, Prairie Township established a fund through the Columbus Foundation, an organization that manages charitable funds, trusts and endowments for organizations throughout central Ohio. Prairie Township trustees also named eight residents to an oversight board to help guide the foundation's efforts.

Funds raised will help support an adaptive field for use by people with mobility challenges at the township's new sports complex now under construction on Galloway Road.

"This field will allow individuals with special needs to experience the joy and camaraderie that comes from being part of a team," Gant said. "In the coming years, we hope that Prairie Township is known as a place where everyone gets to play and everyone gets to participate."

The first phase of the complex at 1503 Galloway Road is slated to open next year. Funding for the second phase, which includes the adaptive field and additional parking, is estimated to cost about $1.8 million in total.

The township expects to receive a $500,000 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission, but the remaining funding is expected to come from donations and fundraising.

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