Darby Accord receives top honors

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A plan that Prairie Township is intricately familiar with has won an award for excellence.

The Ohio Planning Conference (OPC), a state chapter of the American Planning Association, awarded the Big Darby Accord a first place finish in the “Focused Planning Project.”

The Focused Planning Project award recognizes a planning project of unusually high merit dealing with subjects like environmental planning.

It took two years of collaboration with ten jurisdictions (Prairie Township, Franklin County and the City of Columbus, etc.) in the Big Darby Watershed to develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure the safety of the Big and Little Darby Creeks, which are classified as state and national scenic rivers.

“Rarely in history do you see so many jurisdictions set aside parochial issues to focus on the best possible future for the entire region, but the Big Darby Accord is proof that Central Ohio’s communities are cooperating like never before. That is a great sign for our shared future and for the Darby,” said Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman in a press release.

Since the plans completion in 2006, six of the ten member jurisdictions have adopted the plan. Those six jurisdictions represent 95 percent of the land within the planning area.

The Big Darby Watershed is not only the home to 37 rare and endangered species of mussels and fish. It is also the home of 50,000 acres of undeveloped area. The Big Darby Accord ensures that this spacious area remains clear from encroaching development.

“I think we deserved this award for the plan and the effort,” said Prairie Township  Administrator Tracy Hatmaker. “There is still a lot of work to be done, but we’re ready for the challenge.”

The award, which is shared with the Cincinnati Scenic View Study, will be presented at the OPC’s statewide planning conference. That conference will be held Sept. 19-21 at the Columbus Convention Center.

In Other Prairie Township News

At the Sept. 12 Prairie Township meeting, a concerned resident said he was tired of looking at the mess on the property of a business on West Broad Street. He said the owners do not take care of the area and there is trash scattered all over the place that is not cleaned up. Chairman Steve Kennedy said the business in question now has new management, so hopefully they will make it look better.

Also, the members of the board unanimously agreed that once again, Trick or Treat night would be held on Oct. 31. The times to fill up on free goodies run from 6 to 8 p.m. All Hallows Eve falls on a Wednesday this calendar year.

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