Metro Parks to announce big plans for Big Darby near Harrisburg

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Metro Parks will host a public open house at the Cedar Ridge Lodge at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, 1775 Darby Creek Dr. in Galloway on Oct. 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. to unveil plans to breach levees, enhance a small tributary, create a wetland and reforest 30 acres along Big Darby Creek in Pickaway and Franklin counties near Harrisburg.  

The site is the former gravel quarry operation at the edge of Harrisburg south of State Route 62. A number of levees were historically built to prevent water from the creek to flow into the floodplain area and interfere with historic farming and quarrying operations.

Metro Parks purchased the 156-acre quarry in 2002 and will eventually transform it into some type of public use area that might include trails and fishing. This restoration project is the first step.

The $333,222 restoration phase project will allow Big Darby Creek to interact with the floodplain, and use the former quarries, now small lakes, to act as sediment basins during flooding and improve water quality. Metro Parks has been awarded a $315,172 grant from the Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA as part of the Clean Water Act to help fund the project.

Metro Parks has contributed an additional $210,114 to fund the restoration activities.  

Once the construction activities associated with the restoration are completed, Metro Parks plans to focus the final two years of the grant funding on planting over 30 acres of native trees, a 10 acre open prairie area and removing non-native invasive species of plants from the site. The rehabilitation of two bridges, one a vehicular and one a pedestrian bridge will also be a part of the project.

Metro Parks plans to award the contract to complete designed restoration improvements at the Oct. 9 board meeting and construction is planned begin sometime in mid October.

The project should take about six months to complete.

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