Land the Olander Park System recently added to Sylvan Prairie Park will soon be restored as natural habitat, but for this year, it will be farmed, just as it was when the Sylvania City Schools owned it.
The Olander Park commissioners unanimously approved Monday a one-year lease for the 35 acres off Mitchaw Road, north of Timberstone Junior High School in Sylvania Township, to the Creque family, which will pay $3,500 for the right to grow soybeans there.
The lease is retroactive to Jan. 1 and expires at the end of this year or whenever the crop is removed, whichever comes first, said Gregory Arnold, who became the commission's attorney after it bought the property from the school district.
Mr. Arnold, who also serves as the school system's legal counsel, said when the school district owned the property it leased the land to the local farmers.
“After having purchased property at Timberstone Junior High School and in accordance with the conservation effort of 2014-2015 to restore the property, the best management for the site is to have it farmed,” said Erika Buri, Olander's director.
The land, purchased from the school district Feb. 24 using primarily a $427,500 state grant, was originally targeted as the site for a new elementary school, but proved to have extensive wetland areas. The new Central Trail Elementary School has since been built across Mitchaw from Timberstone.
Olander officials plan to begin the site's restoration as natural habitat, with native plants, within 18 months.
Proceeds from the farming lease will be used for park restoration projects, Ms. Buri said.