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Published: Friday, 5/19/2006

$18,000 gift benefits Wood County parks' native plant project


BOWLING GREEN - With a little help from their friends, the Wood County Park District plans to build its own greenhouse and nursery for raising plants native to northwest Ohio as early as this fall.

The Friends of the Parks are to present an $18,000 check to the park district Sunday to put toward the greenhouse.

Parks Director Neil Munger called the contribution "a good start" on a project that could cost between $40,000 and $50,000 to complete.

For nearly seven years, the park district has been working to restore plants native to northwest Ohio at the parks and nature preserves it oversees.

For several years, the park district leased greenhouse space at the Agricultural Incubator on State Rt. 582 near Haskins, but it has outgrown the available space.

Chris Smalley, stewardship coordinator, said this winter the park district was able to lease space at Bostdorff Greenhouse Acres, where it grew 8,000 plants that will be transplanted this spring in park properties.

Mr. Munger said the new greenhouse and nursery will be built at the park district's newest property, the J.C. Reuthinger Memorial Park just north of Owens Community College in Perrysburg Township.

The 69-acre parcel was donated to the park district last year by Lucile Reuthinger Knepper.

"When we were contacted about that land [the greenhouse] was one of the first things we thought of," Mr. Munger said. "The utilities - gas and water - were there. Everything we need, and the location. It's so close to Owens that we're hoping we can get some labor there from students."

Mr. Smalley said 20 acres will be dedicated to the native plant project. He said having its own greenhouse and nursery will enable the park district to expand the native plant project and increase its public awareness and education efforts.

"With this, we'll have room to grow," he said.

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