OARDC’s Secrest Arboretum to build ‘bicentennial walkway’

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WOOSTER, Ohio – Secrest Arboretum will be wrapping the first stage of its renovation plan and the celebration of Ohio’s bicentennial all in one loop.

A walkway loop, that is.

Part of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Wooster campus, the arboretum has slated the construction of a 1,600-foot-long, 7-foot-wide paved walkway on its grounds, which will be dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the founding of the state of Ohio.

Enjoy the scenery. “This will be a nice place for people to walk and enjoy what we have to offer,” said arboretum curator Ken Cochran.

“There has been increased interest in the arboretum by the public and we want to offer this walkway as an additional service to them.”

Cochran is planning to have the walkway ready in time for BioHio 2003, the biennial open house of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, July 18-20 at the Wooster campus of OARDC and the Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI).

First section. The Ohio Bicentennial Walkway is the first section of a corridor that will connect the arboretum’s facilities to provide easier and safer access for visitors.

An estimated 40,000 people a year visit the 85-acre arboretum to walk, bike, jog and admire its more than 2,000 different types of trees and shrubs.

The corridor is one of several projects contained in the arboretum’s master plan, which also includes a visitor/interpretive center, additional demonstration/interpretive/theme gardens, and new research and educational projects.

Master plan. The master plan is the result of recommendations made by a 20-member committee that first met in early 2000.

Headed by Cochran, the committee incorporated OARDC scientists, ATI faculty, Ohio State University Extension specialists, Secrest Arboretum volunteers, area civic leaders, Ohio nursery owners and experts from other arboreta.

The Ohio Bicentennial Walkway will be oval-shaped, starting and ending at the arboretum’s visitor pavilion with additional connections to adjacent parking areas.

Here, walkers will be able to enjoy arboretum favorites such as “Ollie’s Hollies,” the water garden and the John Ford Azalea Alee.

Funding project. The walkway will cost approximately $150,000, Cochran said.

To fund the project, Secrest Arboretum is asking individuals and organizations for donations of $2,500, $1,000, $500 or $100.

“Donations will go to the construction of the walkway, while its subsequent maintenance will be financed through an endowment,” Cochran explained.

“A plaque with the donors’ names will be placed by the walkway to recognize their contributions.”

During the construction of the walkway, six paved areas of 6 by 8 feet each will be laid for the future installation of benches around the loop. Additional donations will be sought for the benches, Cochran said.

One of a kind. Secrest Arboretum is Ohio’s only research arboretum. Established in 1909, it generates new information and disseminates research results for the benefit of the public and industry professionals.

For more information about the Ohio Bicentennial Walkway and how to donate, contact Secrest Arboretum at 330-263-3761 or e-mail cochran.7@osu.edu.

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