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Conservation board approves new addition for Oakland Mills Nature Center

Mar 11, 2014


Mt. Pleasant News

The Oakland Mills Nature Center may see a new addition.

According to executive director of the Henry County Conservation Department John Pullis, a memorial patio may be constructed. He discussed with the Henry County Conservation Board his idea during Monday night’s meeting.

“I’ve been talking with Tim Egli of Egli Landscaping and we discussed putting in a patio north of the Nature Center,” said Pullis. “It will have a fire pit and benches. We have some memorial fund money that we can use for the project, but that would only cover part of it.”

Pullis said that one family who donated the money requested that a fire pit be installed. He felt this was a good idea.

“It would be good to have this patio with a fire pit,” Pullis told the board. “Cari (Nicely) could use it for her outdoor cooking classes, we can use it has a starting point for canoe trips and people visiting the center can utilize it as well. There are a multitude of ways to use this patio.”

Another use Pullis has for the patio is to turn it into a memorial.

“We could add plaques to the seat wall for people who donate money to the park,” explained Pullis. “There are already so many memorial benches and trees, that this would give people another opportunity. There would be room for many plaques and it would be a great way to show our appreciation.”

The patio will be around 900 square feet and cost about $17,200 to build. The board has $6,000 in memorial funds to use toward the project.

“We have funds we can move around to cover the rest,” said Pullis. “If you approve this, we can do it. We have the money.”

Though the memorial patio was a discussion item, the board agreed to move it to an action item and approved the park during the meeting.

“I think this is a great idea. I really like it,” said board member John Klopfenstein.

“I agree, I really like it,” Jim Onorato, board member, said.

“I just think it will be a great addition to the nature center and eventually I would like to add stairs to it and then it would connect to the fishing pier and the trail. It would just sort of tie everything together. We may even, in time, add LED lighting to the seat wall, but that’s something we can do later. It will be a great memorial for people,” said Pullis.

Next up in board business was naturalist Cari Nicely’s report.

“We had to cancel our maple syrup demonstration because of the cold weather, but I have been doing it in classrooms. Also, the ACORN trip that just returned from West Branch went fabulously. The Ding Darling exhibit was really neat and so was the Herbert Hoover one,” said Nicely. “We also have Bat World coming next Tuesday, that should be pretty neat.”

During the meeting, the board also approved the propane contract with B&B Propane. The contract will be for 5,000 gallons of propane for next fall/winter.

“They (B&B) offered a contract for 3,500 gallons of propane but I’m leery about doing that. If we have another winter like this one, we could be stuck paying full price for each gallon after we use up we have. I think we should just stay at 5,000 gallons,” said Pullis.

The board agreed with Pullis and will go with a 5,000 gallon contract with B&B Propane.

The Henry County Conservation Board will meet again on Monday, April 14, at 6 p.m. in the board room in the office.

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