Shale Hollow Preserve will soon expand by 20.9 acres, thanks to a recent land acquisition.
“The most important reason that we acquired this property was to help protect the Big Run waterway, which is a stream that runs into the Olentangy River,” said Sue Hagan, spokeswoman for Preservation Parks of Delaware County, which owns the preserve. “One of the things we want to do is make sure that the waterways that go into the Olentangy are protected from development around their banks. Acquiring this piece of property accomplishes that.”
Shale Hollow Preserve is a 190-acre park in Liberty and Orange townships near Hyatts Road and U.S. 23 that has been acquired from 2004-14. Part of the Big Run is already in the park and has cut through layers of shale. The preserve also contains forest and wildflowers, songbirds and salamanders.
Dan and Jeff Hollenback’s 20.9-acre property is contiguous to the existing park.
“It’s kind of a long narrow piece that runs from the southern border of our existing park west, and then it runs directly into the Olentangy River, and it also crosses Taggart Road,” Hagan said.
The Preservation Parks board had approved the purchase in March, but had to wait for the approval of a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission’s Clean Ohio Conservation Fund.
“Long-term plans include trails throughout south Shale Hollow and the proposed acquisition, which will allow public access throughout the property,” the grant paperwork said.
The grant was approved for $486,000 — with Preservation Parks contributing $169,000 — for a total purchase price of $655,000. The board approved completing the paperwork to allow the purchase to go forward, with the closing expected this year, Hagan said.
“Preservation Parks are always keeping an eye open for property that is connected to our existing parks that is available; or large tracts that might become available around the county that have natural resources that should be protected,” Hagan said. “That’s part of our goals, and we acquire them when we can.”
In addition to acquiring potential parkland, Preservation Parks also has an educational component.
“We provide programs to the public to help them appreciate and learn more about nature, habitats and wildlife,” Hagan said. “Most of those are at no charge to them because of our levy funding.”
“Preservation Parks is funded primarily by property tax dollars approved by voters of Delaware County,” states its website. “The most recent 10-year levy was approved in 2008.”
For more information, visit http://www.preservationparks.com/.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.