A place for the people


TIPP CITY — After seven years of blood, sweat and tears, the Roger Presley Trail and Garden has taken shape and received a new sign.

“I would give someone a million dollars to have this. I would pay someone a million dollars to make this for me. This is the jewel of Tipp City,” Presley said. “You’re not gonna get any better than this. This is the American Dream.”

The trail, which sits along the Great Miami River and Freeman Prairie, is completely hand-cut and was built by Presley voluntarily, who lived in several states before arriving in Tipp City in 2005. He wanted to create a place for children to be able to walk, play in the water and fish, and for families to be able to walk with their children or their dogs and spend time with one another while reconnecting with nature. He used materials from the trail to build rock gardens and water from the creek to irrigate the plants. It was officially named the Roger Presley Trail in 2019 by Tipp City Council, and this week, received a dedicated sign.

“I try to think of other people before myself,” Presley said. “I’m not trying to do this for publicity for me. I’ve got time to do it. My grandmother was a Creek (Muscogee) Indian, and she always told me, ‘Do something to help the people.’ This is all for the people. I feel good with that, that I can give that to the people, with open arms to the people.”

Over the years, several people have helped Presley in his effort to clean up and beautify the trail. In 2020, the garden was started with many of the trees and plants donated by SpringHill Nursery owner Felix Cooper. Three benches, which sit along the trail, were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Eric Graham. Marilyn Richards, of Tipp City, donated $2,000 from Leshner Funds for a utility shed and tools. In addition, City Manager Tim Eggleston has supplied a picnic bench, mulch for all 13 exits along the trail, and supplies to help maintain the trail. Members of local groups such as the Young Marines, Boy Scouts, as well as special needs children, also volunteered to help with the trail and the garden.

“Everything was built by donations from everybody,” Presley said.

With the trail complete and the sign dedicated, the city of Tipp City will take over the care and maintenance of the trail — even so, Presley intends to fully continue working on the trail and seeing it develop further. Additionally, his will directs his estate to the Warren E. Miltenberger Parkland Fund to support the upkeep, maintenance, and preservation of the trail and garden. The fund provides money to replant trees, provide benches and mile markers whenever needed, as well as upgrade the trail as needed.

“I just feel like I’ve been sent here. I feel at home here, I feel at home with the kind of people that come down here. We talk about the earth, we talk about the flowers,” Presley said. “People come here and get their mind right, and that’s what this is all about. It’s a peaceful place.”

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