Mill Creek Park plans renovations for Ford Nature Center

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.The Ford Nature Center, which is the epicenter of Mill Creek Park's education programs, will receive its first serious renovation in the last 25 years thanks to money obtained through the park's Giving Tuesday donations.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.The Ford Nature center, which opened to the public in 1972, will receive a $3 million renovation to its building starting around spring 2019.

By JESSICA HARKER

jharker@vindy.com

Mill Creek Park aimed to collect the money needed to renovate the Ford Nature Center on Giving Tuesday on Nov. 27.

Chris Litton, the director of development, said that the center hasn’t received serious renovations for 25 years.

“The renovations are much needed,” Litton said.

To help them reach this goal, the park received a matching grant from the Sand Hill Foundation in California.

Litton said Sand Hill would match every dollar raised by the park up to $1 million to benefit the center.

“We have never really done this before,” Litton said. “This is a first for us.”

The park was able to raise $7,423 on Tuesday which will be matched by the grant to total $14,846.

Litton said the largest donation of $5,000, came from Thomas and Katherine Shipka.

“We are very grateful to the Shipka’s for their generous and continued support of the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation,” Litton said.

The Ford Nature Center opened in 1972 and is the epicenter of education programs for the park.

Currently housed in the center are the Habitat Room, the Discovery Room and a Live Animal Room.

Children are able to travel to the center to learn about local animals, their habitats and other aspects of the nature in the park.

The center also houses a teachers’ resource center, which has a range of books, videos and other materials for local teachers to use in their class rooms.

The center offers a variety of programs for school age children throughout the year, marking it as one of the most utilized buildings in the Mill Creek Park.

Litton said construction on the center will likely begin in Spring 2019.

“It’s an important building and it needs the renovations,” Litton said.

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