Eagle Scout projects planned for parks

By John Butters, The JOURNAL

The Washington County Board of Conservation approved two Eagle Scout projects at its monthly meeting Thursday.

Scout Trevor Nida will grow 200-plus trees from seeds to be planted next year in the north timber area of Schmitter Heritage Area. Schmitter is an 80-acre parcel of grassland prairie located northwest of Brighton.

In the other project, Scout Dennis Levsen will perform a construction upgrade to the No. 4 picnic shelter at Marr Park. Plans call for new support beams for the roof and replacing the asphalt shingles with metal roofing.

The board will provide both materials and assistance on the project.

In other business, the board approved a preliminary budget of $130,000 for the upgrade of the Tinnes Nature Center Exhibit. The board also authorized the submission of grant applications for project funding to several entities.

The nature center, located in the board?s Education Center has become dated, staff has said. The new exhibits will feature interactive displays that would likely increase traffic to the park and the nature center.

The board was informed that 25 new picnic tables at a cost of $14,529 had been ordered. This is an ongoing, budgeted project to upgrade tables at all of the parks.

Work continues to prepare the Washington section of the Kewash trail for a paving project this summer. Trees and shrubs are being removed along the trail to widen the shoulders for the installation of improved drainage.

According to the plan, the current asphalt trail surface would be maintained from the in-city trailhead on West Fifth Street to Highway 1.

From the highway, the project would overlay the current limestone path of the trail west of Highway 1 with a 10-foot- wide layer of concrete to a point just west of Willow Pond Park.

From the park pond, a new concrete spur would be constructed north to Lexington Boulevard near the Kirkwood College campus. The total distance for the new paving project would be about 1 mile.

The cost of the project is estimated at $700,000. The board has received grants nearly equal to the estimated cost. The funding includes a $342,000 state Transportation Alternative award, $120,000 from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation, $100,000 from the state?s Resource Enhancement and Protection program and $60,000 in funding from the county and the City of Washington.

Bid letting for the project is scheduled for May 15.

A work day is planned for April 14 to clean the area around the trail in preparation for a May 15 date to begin planting trees for a green barrier along the new trail.

In a related item, a Master Trails planning meeting is scheduled at the Conservation Center on Thursday, March 15, at 6 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.Board members and Washington County supervisors will discuss the potential implementation of a countywide trail network.

The board approved several new hires. Zach Rozmus was hired as a new ranger/technician. Randi Jenkins was hired to be an interning naturalist.

The board approved the hire of two campground hosts. The hosts receive a campsite at no charge, but no other compensation.Their duties include providing information to campsite visitors, ensuring all campers are registered and some cleaning responsibilities.

The board directed Executive Director Steve Anderson to gather more information on a potential land purchase by the board.