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Work ongoing on Bible Park upgrades

This article is brought to you by The Bryan Times

By Ron Osburn rosburn@bryantimes.com

May 31, 2022

From left, Kaden Cummins, Chelsea McCord, Faith Miller and Chloe Martin were among the 13 members of the Montpelier High School National Honor Society who helped build and upgrade a pair of trails at George Bible Park earlier this month.


County Engineer Todd Roth and the Williams County Park Board vowed to begin upgrades to George Bible Park this year. And with the help of volunteers — including National Honor Society students from Montpelier High School — that work has begun.


The 13 Montpelier students joined with park board member Rod Miller and several other adult volunteers to create a new eighth-of-a-mile trail and upgrade another quarter-mile trail at the 60-acre park, located between Montpelier and Bryan at county roads 13 and J.


It was an all-volunteer effort over a three-week period earlier this month, using donated labor, equipment and materials, said Miller, who coordinated the effort.

Miller said the adult volunteers donated their equipment to widen the trails and bring in loads of wood chips from trees downed by county workers. Students then helped spread the wood chips over the dirt trails to improve the pathways, he said.


“We upgraded the trails from dirt to a wood chip base and widened the trails to make them a safer and more desirable surface to walk on,” Miller said, thanking adult volunteers Rick and Tim Rhodes, Rick Garrett and Bob Tressler for their efforts.


Focus


After fielding complaints from residents last year about Bible Park’s condition, especially the footbridge, trails and the amount of algae in the pond, Roth had vowed to work to find funding to begin upgrades to the park this year.

“We want to work on Bible Park this year,” he said last week, noting that along with his normal duties overseeing the county sewer system, dealing with drainage issues and road and bridge maintenance, his focus in 2021 was on completing the $4 million Kunkle sewer project. In addition, as county engineer and also a member of the county park board (with Miller and Ron Jenks), he coordinated completion late last year of a new 18-hole disc golf course at Opdycke Park.


With his budget under strain, Roth said he’s seeking outside funding to ameliorate the thick, stagnant coating of bright green algae that covers much of the entire surface of the pond, and to build a new footbridge that crosses the pond at its narrowest point. The footbridge is currently deemed structurally unsafe and is closed.

Roth said he submitted an application for a $100,000 state grant, which was reduced to $50,000 by the state, to make repairs to the footbridge. If approved, he hopes the county commissioners will match that $50,000 to bring the funding back up to $100,000.


“If we get an answer on that (funding) this year, we expect to be prepared to start next year,” he said.

He also has applied for funding to purchase and install aerators in the pond that would break up the algae, but is unsure if that grant will be approved.

“If it doesn’t look like we’re going to get (the funding), we’ll have to go to Plan B,” he said, acknowledging he’s still not entirely sure what Plan B will look like.

Meanwhile, Roth thanked the adult and student volunteers and Miller for coordinating the upgrade. “I can’t thank the volunteers enough for their time and effort to help us move this project forward,” he said.

Miller vowed the park improvements will continue.

“This is just the beginning of the work to upgrade Bible Park,” he promised.



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