(Posted Oct. 29, 2015)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Madison County Park District is pursuing a Clean Ohio Green Space grant to develop a campsite on 14 wooded acres along the Prairie Grass Trail bike path. The land is located at Midway Street and State Route 38 in London.
The estimated cost of the project is $400,000. The park board, comprised of the Madison County commissioners, is applying for a $300,000 grant. If the grant application is successful, the commis-sioners plan to raise the remaining $100,000 by matching private donations up to $50,000.
The money will be used to purchase the land, clear space for tent camping, build an observation tower, and create a handicap accessible path from the bike trail through the camping area. The purpose is to meet cyclists’ requests for inexpensive overnight accommodations and provide another outdoor amenity for local residents.
“I’m really excited about the idea,” said Julia Cumming, park board consultant and grant writer. She is especially excited about the observation tower.
“I like the idea of getting people up in the (tree) canopy, close to nature,” she said.
Additionally, the plan is to build the tower’s platforms large enough to accommodate tents, creating a “vertical camping” experience. Commissioner Paul Gross thinks the unique structure would attract tourism, which in turn could benefit area businesses.
The park board is submitting the grant application this week. The Natural Resource Assistance Committee will review all applications in mid-December, after which the grant recipients will be announced. The date of the announcement has not been set. Funding is not guaranteed.
The Clean Ohio Green Space program is administered by the Ohio Public Works Commission.