Jewett farm builds corn maze to raise money

The Jewett Wildcat Corn Maze

JEWETT, Ohio — Even before the Jewett Elementary School was closed by the Harrison Hills City School District in 2010, the school building was integral to the community.

The village had used the building for different functions for years.

“There are probably 80 to 100 kids in the winter basketball program at the center,” said local farmer Russ Arbaugh. “It’s a pretty big thing around here.”

Costly operations

The village took over operations of the new Jewett Community Center following the school’s closure, and the costs of running the facility became pretty big as well.

“When the village took it over, there were no funds to run it, so we wanted to do this,” Arbaugh said of the Jewett Wildcat Corn Maze, built on five acres of his family’s 3,500-acre grain farm.

“It’s a completely non-profit (venture) to raise funds for maintaining the building, like upkeep, windows and things.

“This is something we can do to help.”

The inaugural season of the Jewett Wildcat Community Center corn maze opened Sept. 19 and will run through Nov. 2, in conjunction with the community center’s annual Harco House of Horrors haunted house fundraiser.

The maze opens at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Children 5 and under are free. Refreshments are also available.

Helping hand

Arbaugh said he and his family have been actively involved with the community center for a number of years.

“And for us to have a patch of corn was nothing — we are still going to harvest it,” he said.

Constructing the maze, Arbaugh said, has been an ongoing process since spring.

“My family and I attended some mazes about 40 or 50 miles from here and we enjoyed it,” Arbaugh said. “We did some (corn maze building) research online, but I had no real sophisticated way to do it; we just started cutting corn.”

The Arbaughs’ methods evolved throughout the process, eventually using GPS technology to map out the 8,500 feet of path.

Apart from the time taken to plant, cultivate, design, cut and manage the family friendly attraction, Arbaugh said costs have been minimal.

“And it is all dedicated to the community center,” he said.

Family farm

The Arbaugh family has been farming for eight generations. Arbaugh said using the property to give back to the community he and his family have grown up in was a no-brainer.

“My kids are in the (community center) basketball program and we have all been involved in the community for years,” Arbaugh said.

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