Preservation Parks of Delaware County announced Wednesday it has acquired the iconic Delaware County Bicentennial Barn along Bale Kenyon Road in Orange Township, along with 37 adjacent acres. These tracts constitute phase four of a five-phase acquisition plan that will eventually result in a 233-acre park in Orange Township, in southern Delaware County.
The barn, along with a half-acre of land, was donated to the park district by Bob and Sue (McCammon) Postle. The 37-acre tract was purchased from the Postles for $1,486,313; a grant from the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation program covered $1,086,551 of the cost with the rest coming from park district funds.
“We sincerely thank Bob and Sue (Postle) for their generous donation,” said Tom Curtin, Preservation Parks executive director. “We know the barn will be an important feature of the new park we are planning.”
He added that 142 acres of adjacent land, acquired over the past three years, also came from the extended McCammon family, which has owned the property for decades; Sue Postle is a member of that family.
“We are grateful for the McCammon family’s willingness to allow the park district to seek funding and acquire the property piece by piece,” Curtin said. “Their vision – that this former farmland could be a park – will be appreciated by all the area residents, who will be able to enjoy a beautiful piece of nature in the midst of development.”
From their perspective, the Postles are glad to see that the barn will be preserved, and the land will become parkland.
“The Bicentennial Barn is a Delaware County treasure,” said Bob Postle, adding that “the farm has been in my wife’s family since 1812.”
The red barn was built in the very early 1900s, Postle said. It was painted with the Ohio Bicentennial logo in 1999 by Scott Hagan for Ohio’s 2003 Bicentennial celebration. There is one Bicentennial Barn in each of Ohio’s 88 counties with the Delaware County barn being number 26.
Because of its location near I-71, it is probably seen and photographed more than any other, said Postle.
Curtin said that Preservation Parks will restore and remodel the barn for eventual use as a four-seasons rental facility. Master planning for the park and barn will begin this year, and a grant application will be submitted this fall to acquire 54 more acres in phase five of the project, to bring the total acreage to 233 for the future park. Apart from its location in southern Delaware County, the land appealed to Preservation Parks because of its healthy streams and sections of mature woodlands, Curtin said.
Reforestation of the first three phases is ongoing, with 32,000 tree seedlings and 833 larger trees already in the ground, he said, adding that the new park will have trails, picnic areas, locations to drop canoes and kayaks into Alum Creek, and other amenities. A timeframe for the new park to be opened has not yet been set, he said.
This story was submitted by Preservation Parks of Delaware County.