BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Over 80 stakes are in the ground along a swath of newly cleared land on the towpath trail along the Maumee River.
The stakes indicate where new trees will be planted in varieties that include dawn redwood, sycamore and river birch – all native and conducive to the environment, according to Maumee administrator Patrick Burtch.
“These trees will thrive in wet areas,” he said.
On Saturday, he led a group of volunteers and other city officials along the towpath trail, where the stakes were placed for some 85 trees set to be planted this year. It was a culmination of work that included ridding the area of dead overgrowth and invasive species.
East Broadway Street residents Joe and Dianna Gray spend a lot of time walking along the trail, and Joe was on hand Saturday, helping to place the tree stakes.
“We love it down here, and we love what is going on and we wanted to be part of it,” he said.
Mavi Langley-Jones, who has lived in the area for more than 12 years, agreed.
“I’m excited. I think it is going to be beautiful,” she said. “I love the choice of trees. What a dramatic change. It’s going to be gorgeous.”
Volunteers have played a big role in transforming the area, which also included dictating which trees should be planted and where. Paul and Lauren Koch were among the group helping out. The couple moved into their home on East Broadway over two years ago, after being away from the Toledo area for many years. Paul has been particularly impressed with the initiative because it not only called for ridding the area of unnecessary and dead overgrowth but also for replanting new trees.
“There’s more going on with Patrick’s plan. They are looking at the big picture, so they are putting trees back and making it better. I think it is great what I see Maumee doing,” he said.
Jon Fiscus first initiated the cleanup effort in July and was among those working at the site, where bee stings and bouts of poison ivy were also unfortunately part of the long, arduous clearing process. He was also on hand on Saturday to place the stakes for the new trees.
“It’s exciting to see this essentially come to a completion,” Fiscus said. “It’s great to see the project coming to an end and the park getting the love and attention it deserves.”
After volunteers finished staking the tree sites, Burtch, along with council member Gabe Barrow and volunteers Mark and Cindy Irman, hosted a volunteer thank-you lunch for them.
This month, Maumee City Council allocated approximately $50,000 for the purchase of 235 new trees due for planting throughout the city, including in Towpath Park, Rolf Park and along several side streets. Those approvals came on October 11 for 60 trees from Underwood Nursery at a cost of $13,275 and on October 18 for 175 trees from North Branch Nursery at a cost of $38,635. The city service staff will plant the new trees.
In addition to allocating funds for new trees along the river, council also approved approximately $16,000 to install an ADA-compliant drinking fountain, jug filler and pet fountain at Towpath Park. That action also took place at the October meetings and the spending includes the addition of a 300-foot water line to the area.