The demolition of the old raptor aviary on Indian Ripple Road to make way for a new structure is among the first park improvements planned this year by Greene County Parks & Trails.
The improvements are funded through the parks levy voters passed in 2015, which generates about $3 million a year, according to parks officials.
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Construction on a new aviary to house the birds of prey at the Narrow Reserve, 2575 Indian Ripple, is expected to start today and be complete by the end of the month, according to Chuck Frazier, GCP&T ranger and project supervisor.
Frazier said the new aviary will be big enough to house seven birds.
“These are program birds that we use for nature programming, school programming,” Frazier said. “They have some type of permanent injury and can’t go back to the wild.”
There are currently four raptors, and the birds are being temporarily kept in cages inside the park’s nature center. GCP&T Chief Naturalist Cris Barnett said they are handling the move OK.
“When it gets bitter cold, we take them in to the nature center, so they are used to it, but we’d like to get them out as quickly as we can.”
Barnett said the birds are taken to schools, senior centers and other venues across the county for educational purposes. In addition, Barnett said about 20,000 people visit the Narrow Reserve for programming involving the raptors.
“We’re really looking forward to this (new aviary),” Barnett said. “We’ve made a few modifications. it will be a little easier to clean, a little easier to get heat in there in the winter.”
Demolition, new materials and construction on the aviary project costs about $50,000. Frazier said the new 20-by-20-foot structure will feature a metal roof and composite materials that are sturdier and endure longer than wood.
“The up-front costs are not cheap but it pays off in the end,” he said. “With the materials we’re using, we hope to get a lot more longevity out of it.”
Of the revenue generated from the levy, about $1 million goes toward maintaining bike trails, $1 million goes toward GCP&T operations, and the rest is used to support other park agencies and a portion is used to fund the management agreement with Greene County, Frazier said.
More work is planned at Caesar Ford Park, the site of the former Blue Jacket amphitheater, which was demolished last year. Among other ideas, Frazier said they are considering installing some primitive campgrounds at Caesar Ford Park.
Frank Seaman Park in Jamestown is due to get a new ball field this year.
In addition to maintenance on bike paths, pavement improvements are planned at five different parks and facilities in Greene County this year: Twin Towers Park in Bath Twp.; Mill Bridge Launch in Sugarcreek Twp.; Constitution Park in Spring Valley; Russ Nature Preserve in Beavercreek Twp.; and Frank Seaman Park.
For more information, contact GCP&T at (937) 562-6440 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.