Wednesday, May 09, 2001

Wildlife area to be developed

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        FOREST PARK - About 3 acres at the southeast corner of Mill and Kemper roads will soon become home to birds, bats and butterflies.

        City officials hope the improvements will discourage illegal dumping at the site but encourage small animals to find a home there so school groups can explore nature at the wildlife sanctuary they plan to develop over the next year or so.

        “The area is overgrown and unsightly,” said Wright Gwyn, manager of the Forest Park Environmental Awareness Program. “We're going to improve the site so it's more pleasing to the eye and to nature.”

        Work at the site will be paid for through grants from Cinergy Foundation, work by city employees, a Community Development Block grant and a donation from Environmental Quality Management Inc. Several city departments are working together on the project.

        The back of the triangular lot that backs into Interstate 275 will be left more natural, largely because of the deep slopes that back into the highway, said City Manager Ray Hodges. A dirt berm with flowers, mulch and trees will be built along Kemper and Mill roads. Sidewalks and wood-chip paths will form walking paths throughout the site. No parking is planned.

        A small pond will be constructed at the site to encourage lizards, reptiles and insects. Interpretive signs explaining the different flower beds and wildlife habitats are planned. Most of the improvements are similar to what homeowners could do in their own yards, Mr. Gwyn said.

        The work will begin this week with removal of debris and gravel on the site. “This is a fun project. Everyone wins,” Mr. Gwyn said. “An unsightly site is made more attractive, which makes the city look better. It improves the environment not only for us but also for the critters who live there.”


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