As development overwhelms the area of East Broad Street and Waggoner Road, Columbus City Council's purchase of more than 40 acres of nearby woodland is intended to help protect the environmental health and resilience of the city's waterways, while providing corridors for walking, biking and outdoor experiences with improved access to trails and greenways.

The Columbus City Council on Oct. 7 approved purchasing 41.5 acres of woodland, near the intersection of East Broad Street and Waggoner Road, close to Dysart Run on the far east side, for $1.2 million.

The land, just north of Reynoldsburg, is "one of the largest remaining forested tracts in the entire Blacklick Creek watershed," according to the city ordinance. It is adjacent to an eight-acre Columbus Recreation and Parks nature area along a ravine of Dysart Run, and together the two tracts bring the total conservation area to more than 50 acres.

The purchase by the city should help protect the environmental health and resilience of the city's waterways while providing corridors for walking and biking and other outdoor experiences with improved access to trails and greenways, according to the ordinance.

"The conservation and preservation of natural sites is critical to building a healthy, growing city for the long haul -- and it is a core mission of our Recreation and Parks Department," Council member Elizabeth Brown said in an email earlier Oct. 7. "Our investment to acquire and preserve this land not only benefits water quality and natural wildlife habitat, but it also creates more opportunity for our residents' health, recreation, and quality of life."

The land was being marketed "as is" for development with an asking price of $3 million. It has 625 feet of frontage on Waggoner Road. The city will use a $900,000 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission and $300,000 of city bond money to pay for the purchase.

The project received support from the Far East Area Commission, Friends of Blacklick Creek and the landowner.

bbush@dispatch.com

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