Monday, Jul 25, 2016
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Fossil Park is slated for extra improvements

Fossil Park is scheduled for the installation of utilities and construction of a permanent restroom this coming season, and other improvements are under consideration if funds are available.

Gary Madrzykowski, director of the Olander Park System that operates the park, said no estimate has been made of the cost for the improvements that have the most priority.

“We're probably going to have to dynamite our way through rock to get the utility lines in there, and we don't know what that expense might be,” he said.

Fossil Park was opened earlier this year and is at the bottom of an abandoned rock quarry off Centennial Road, south of Sylvania-Metamora Road.

The quarry is on a 10-acre site that was leased by Hanson Aggregate Midwest, Inc., to Sylvania. The city entered into a sub-lease with Olander for its operation.

Mr. Madrzykowski said he intends to contact officials from Hanson for advice and perhaps assistance in blasting pathways for utility lines to the site.

Estimates show that when the park is fully operational it may attract as many as 250,000 annual visitors interested in searching for fossils in rocks from the area's nearby quarries. Those numbers make a restroom facility a necessity, Mr. Madrzykowski.

“Utilities will definitely include water,” Mr. Madrzykowski said.

Hanson has agreed to take rock to the site from its active quarries and deliver it to Fossil Park for people to inspect the samples for fossils and collect any that are found.

The Olander director said if the cost of utility extensions and the construction of a restroom facility isn't too great, additional digging pits may be established at the park next year.

He added that a security fence may be built at the base of the quarry to deter people from trying to scale the walls.

The park will be open only on weekends this coming season, he said, but will be available for use on a reservation basis by schools and other groups.

Reservations will be based on the construction schedule at the site, the director said.

In November, voters passed a 0.5 -mill levy for the park system that is expected to bring in about $567,000. A previous levy supplied about $210,000 each year in revenue.

Much of the additional income will be used for improvements to Fossil Park as it is developed, Mr. Madrzykowski said.

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