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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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Groundbreaking for nature center set for April 16

After 10 years of saving, planning and raising funds, the Sandusky County Park District is ready to break ground for a nature center building at Creek Bend Farm Park in the Village of Lindsey.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the center is scheduled for April 16 at 10 a.m. at the park.

The district’s board of commissioners unanimously voted Wednesday to contract with Mosser Construction, Fremont, to build the 4,000-square-foot, 2-story facility that will cost about $1.52 million.

Construction is expected to be completed by early October, said Jeanne Dieterich, a district spokesperson.

The building will contain a classroom and the park district consulted with administrators of area school systems to ensure the room design is compatible with the science curricula of the schools, Steve Gruner, director of the park district, said.

The center will also house a library, window on wildlife room, open and covered decks, an exhibit area, office and restrooms.

Gruner said the district will be able to display more than 100 taxidermy specimens at the center and offer nature programs for clubs and organizations. The center will also provide a base for the district’s volunteer programs.

Nearly 10 years ago the district embarked on a two-pronged effort to fund the project. The park board began setting aside funds from rental fees, donations, and revenue from wetland mitigation projects until it had reached its goal of earmarking $750,000 for the building.

A public fundraising campaign then began and last August the district announced that a Clyde, O. couple, Joe and Sharon Wilson, were donating $100,000 toward construction costs.

By the end of 2013, the district had received about $421,000 in public donations and pledges, including the Wilson donation – one of the largest cash donations in the 40-year history of the park system, Gruner said.

Other notable donations:

  • Hal Hawk, president of Crown Battery Manufacturing Co., and his wife, Diane, are donating $50,000 for the classroom.
  • The Knight-Baldwin Charitable Fund is donating $50,000.
  • Glenn Maddy, a former county extension agent, pledged $25,000 for a children’s activity area.
  • Community Health System pledged $10,000 for a nature trail.
  • Tom Kern, president of Stylecrest Products, is donating $50,000 for the window on wildlife.
  • Kate Doust, of Fremont, is donating $25,000 to sponsor the meeting room.
  • Luckey Farmers is donating $20,000 for the main floor display area.
  • Ag-Credit, Fremont Pickle Growers Association, Daryl and Cate Knipp Farms, Mauch Farms, Seibert Seed Service, William and Evelyn Warner Farms, and the Sandusky County Farm Bureau are jointly donating $30,000 for the display area.

More contributions are expected, Gruner said last week.

The Collaborative, a Toledo firm, is the architect.

Creek Bend Farm Park covers about 310 acres and the nature center will sit close to Muddy Creek.

Gruner said the district is also restoring two barns at the site this spring.

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