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Published: Tuesday, 2/5/2013

Pearson to add outbuilding, replace playground

BY ROBERTA GEDERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Pearson Metroparks officials are sprucing up two areas of its park system this year, including installation of an interactive children’s playground and construction of a Black Swamp-era shelter on the Pearson North expansion, bringing nearer to completion its wetlands-restoration project.

The 1,754-square-foot outbuilding eyed on Pearson North will include restrooms and a shelter area for school groups and families to hold events, park spokesman Scott Carpenter said.

“This part of the park was a long time coming,” he said of bringing completion of the Pearson North wetlands restoration closer to fruition. “Adding this component will make the area a lot more usable for people.”

Construction of the $315,000 building, being paid for through the park’s capital improvement fund, is out to bid and should be built this spring, Mr. Carpenter said.

It is to be built to resemble a 19th century farm structure, like a corn crib, to blend in with the Johlin cabin, a structure restored from the 1860s and moved to the park as the centerpiece of the $5 million restoration. Mr. Carpenter said the building completes park officials’ plans for the restored land, which the park system bought in 2002, with the exception of the walking trail that they want to continue around the park’s perimeter.

The facility will allow more space for events because the cabin was not meant to hold large numbers of people, and it will offer restroom facilities to those using the cabin or the walking trail that runs past it, said Terry Braymaier, president of Friends of Pearson Metropark.

“Right now, we have programs at Johlin, and really we have nothing besides a portable [restroom] facility,” he said.

A second project, expected to start this summer, is the construction of a playground facility to replace the current playground and expanded on about a half-acre of the park system’s original acreage. It will feature interactive concrete sculptures that mimic natural scenes, including a frog on a lilypad and lifelike trees into which children can climb up to access bridges, slides, and a rubber surface, Mr. Carpenter said.

Graphite Design/Build of Toledo, owned by Doug Kampfer and Jeremy Links, is designing the pieces.

Future phases of the project designed by the company include additional sculptures, including one of a giant water snake on which children can balance and a sculpture of a sunken wagon that children can board and slide off.

The playscape area, a $300,000 project, is being paid for through donations, including $50,000 from the BP refinery, $24,000 from the France Stone Foundation, and a combined $25,000 from other donors, including the Friends of Pearson and the Eastern Maumee Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. The balance is being funded through the park’s capital improvements fund, Mr. Carpenter said.

Contact Roberta Gedert at: rredfern@theblade.com or 419-724-6081.



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