Clean Ohio Funds at Work in Lucas County
Pearson Metropark in Oregon has doubled in size over the last 15 years and now connects walkers, cyclists, and birdwatchers to other regional paths. The Clean Ohio Fund was a critical source of financing that has made this development possible.
The Clean Ohio Fund returns taxpayer money to local agencies for the preservation of open space. TMACOG manages the administrative committee (the Natural Resources Assistance Council or NRAC) that evaluates applications and makes recommendations for funding.
In our region, the Metroparks of the Toledo Area has been the recipient of many of the Clean Ohio grants. Their project applications earn major points for increasing public access, protecting endangered plants and animals, preserving habitat, and improving water quality through restored waterways.
In the very first year of the grant, in 2001, the Metroparks was successful in an application to purchase property adjacent to Pearson Park. Pearson North is a major expansion that nearly doubled the area of the park to 624 acres. The Clean Ohio Fund provided $820,000 and the Metroparks put $1.23 million toward the $2.05 million purchase price. Since 2001, Pearson North has been restored, changing from drained agricultural fields to seasonal wetlands. Multi-use trails connect to city trails, taking cyclists all the way to Maumee Bay State Park.
Tim Schetter, director of natural resources for the Metroparks, said that habitat restoration is a work in progress but public access is now open including bike trails and a boardwalk with viewing stations.
“The development of Pearson Metropark is a prime example of how Clean Ohio Fund works,” said TMACOG Vice President of Water Quality Planning, Kurt Erichsen. “With support from the fund, the park preserved property from development, restored habitat, increased public access, and provides educational opportunities for visitors.”
A boardwalk and tower in Pearson North overlook restored wet prairie.
On-going habitat restoration projects will convert agricultural fields back to
the wetlands of the Great Black Swamp. Photos courtesy of Metroparks of
the Toledo Area.