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Published: Tuesday, 10/27/2009

New nursery in Sylvania would grow native plants

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A greenhouse could sprout in the coming months at Olander Park where native plants would be grown for use in prairie installations as well as possibly in area residents' yards.

The structure would be located on the southeast corner of the park in an area referred to as the nursery, said Erika Buri, conservation manager for Olander, 6930 Sylvania Ave.

Sylvania City Council last week referred to the municipal planning commission the park system's request for a special-use permit for the greenhouse. A public hearing on the request will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 in council chambers, city officials said.

Cost estimate for the greenhouse structure is $10,000, not including costs for utilities and other aspects still in the works, Ms. Buri said.

The site was selected as the best location to provide sunlight necessary to grow plants, she said, and no growing lights would be needed, she said.

Depending on the weather and the permitting process, the greenhouse could be put up before the first of the year, but she said it probably won't happen until spring.

An aluminum-frame structure covered by two layers of polycarbonate film, the greenhouse would be 31 feet by 48 feet - or 1,488 square feet - and 16-feet tall. The frame would extend three feet into the ground and sliding doors would be at the front and back of the greenhouse.

In the nursery area trees are planted for use in the park system, and logs cut from felled trees are stored there. There's a mulch pile too.

Native plants grown in the greenhouse would be started from seeds the park system is selecting, including butterfly milkweed, ironweed, and various types of sunflowers.

"The plants will not just be for our use but also hopefully to provide plants to the public as well so people can put them in their garden," she said.

The greenhouse would not be open to the public; plant sales would be held outdoors. Proceeds likely wouldn't generate a profit, but the park system would break even, Ms. Buri said, noting the sales aren't intended to raise money as much as to raise awareness about the value of native plants.

When the park system two years ago conducted a survey as part of development of a master plan, people didn't specify that they wanted a greenhouse built, but there was considerable interest in native gardens, she said. The native plants would be used not only for prairie installations but in gardens and other landscaping projects in the park system.

Recommendations related to the master plan include development of a system-wide map, and "we hope to complete the map this winter," Ms. Buri said.

The map would help guide visitors to the additions and improvements across the park system in recent years, such as Sylvan Prairie Park, acquired by the park system in summer, 2003.

Olander purchased 46.67 acres for $1.4 million and received another 13.33 acres, valued at $400,000, via a donation.

The park system received $337,000 from the state's Clean Ohio funds and $200,000 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to assist with the purchase. Hanson Aggregates Midwest Inc. granted the park system a 40-acre conservation easement along the eastern boundary in 2006, making the current park 100 acres.

Olander will rehabilitate at least 80 percent of the former farm field and failed golf course development into oak savanna, meadow, and wetlands.

The first 32 acres were planted in native plants and wildflowers this fall, and plans call for an additional 17 acres to be planted in 2010, said Gary Madrzykowski, the park system's director. He noted the acreage requires three growing seasons to come to fruition.

Sylvan Prairie will feature a sledding hill on the highest elevation in Lucas County, a three-acre lake, and a playground, he said.

Contact Janet Romaker at:

jromaker@theblade.com or

419-724-6006.



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