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Upgrades set at Fellows gardens, McGuffey pond

CANFIELD — Several improvements are slated to add a bit of color — and plenty of practicality — to many people’s favorite Mill Creek Park landmark.

One project entails upgrading the outdoor restroom at Fellows Riverside Gardens for year-round use, Justin Rogers, Mill Creek MetroParks’ planning and operations director, said after the park’s board of commissioners met Monday at the MetroParks Farm.

The work, estimated at $147,000, should get underway in the summer, though Rogers was unable to provide a timetable. To make it able to be used all year, the facility will receive a new roof and entrances; it also will be heated and insulated, Rogers said.

The restroom improvements are important also because the facility is an anchor to the nearby Elizabeth Fellows Education Building and the future revamped children’s garden, he said.

The park entered into a 75-day contract with Claysville, Pa.-based Graham Construction for the project, Rogers said.

Also Monday, Debbie Metzger, who sits on the Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens’ board, said the annual Mother’s Day plant sale last month brought in $4,175. Proceeds will go to the Youngstown Foundation, with a request the funds be used to enhance the rose garden portion of Fellows, she said.

Such a move is important because the pedigree roses are expensive to plant and require a lot of care. In addition, that section of the botanical gardens is popular among brides and others, Metzger said.

In other business, Gavin Switzer, who owns Youngstown-based Next Nature LLC, discussed with commissioners a proposal to restore a small pond at the McGuffey Wildlife Preserve in Coitsville.

The William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society contracted with Switzer’s company to “get the pond back to a deep water habitat,” Switzer said.

Specifically, the proposed restoration effort will entail using specialized equipment to dredge the body of water to remove accumulated sediment and convert it to a functional kettle bog habitat with minimal environmental impact, Switzer said.

Kettle bogs are water-filled, circular or elliptical depressions formed by retreating glaciers or draining floodwaters that are usually deeper than they are wide. They also are typically fed by precipitation instead of streams or groundwater.

The dredging will entail five phases: assessment and planning, such as environmental-impact studies, dredging and initial habitat establishment, vegetation planting and habitat structuring, monitoring and managing to ensure ecological stability, and installing a boardwalk and signage to inform visitors about the restored habitat’s environmental and historical significance.

The ecological benefits of such a restoration will be an increased biodiversity, improved water quality and vital ecosystem components that include flood mitigation and a viable habitat for pollinating insects and other species, the proposal states.

The pond has been a source of controversy in recent years because some historical society members and others have accused the park of neglecting to properly maintain the body of water and allowing it to degrade.

news@vindy.com

and adversely affect the preserve’s overall ecological well-being.

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