Park Board approves planned prairie reserve


By Sam Wildow

[email protected]

TROY — The City of Troy Board of Park Commissioners gave its approval for the creation of a prairie reserve on the north parcels of Duke Park, formerly known as the Huelskamp Farm, during its meeting Thursday evening.

Patrick Titterington, director of Public Service and Safety, explained the project is a collaboration between the City of Troy, the Miami County Park District (MCPD), the Duke Foundation, and the Robinson Foundation, coinciding with the completion of MCPD’s wetlands project along the Great Miami River.

The reserve will include a prairie, forestation, and a walking path area in Duke Park North, previously known as Huelskamp Farm. It will include eight acres of new trees, 32 acres of various species of prairie grasses, sedges, and milkweeds. The gravel walking path will also be approximately 1.5 miles in length, connecting to the paved parking lot next to the existing ballfields. MCPD will also construct two overlook platforms for the prairie.

Titterington explained the prairie would be a reserve rather than a preserve in order to give the city more control over the land’s future.

“A reserve reserves the land but gives you more flexibility in the long run,” Titterington said.

Titterington, in a letter to the Board of Park Commissioners, stated “the land would remain as prairie until future recreational amenities can be installed. Note that it would be anticipated that the Reserve area would remain in the long term, particularly on the north portion of Duke Park where no recreational amenities have been contemplated.” During Thursday’s meeting, he suggested future expanded ballfields could potentially impact parts of the prairie and not necessarily the entire area.

The estimated cost for the project is approximately $58,810, and Titterington said the Duke Foundation has already awarded the city a grant of 50% of the project, up to the amount of $30,000. He said with the recent inflation of construction materials, the city is still “cautiously optimistic” that they will come in under budget.

The estimated cost breakdown includes:

• Forestation (eight acres), $6,000

• Prairie (32 acres), $16,000

• Gravel path (1.5 miles), $17,250

• Five benches, $10,000

• One entrance sign, $1,660

• One interpretive sign, $1,300

• One directional sign, $1,250

• A 10% contingency, $5,350

Miami County Commissioner Ted Mercer spoke on behalf of the Robinson Fund, which has expressed interest in creating an endowment to help fund the future maintenance of the reserve. The reserve is anticipated to be named after the Robinsons.

“Mrs. Robinson was so happy that their area would be connected to her father, Mr. Paul Duke,” Mercer said.

Additional maintenance funding would come out of the general fund, and Titterington noted it would be a “minimal maintenance item.”

“We tried to create something that would not be an ongoing operating burden,” Titterington said.

“I think it’s going to be a great use of that property,” said City of Troy Park Superintendent Jeremy Drake.

The board unanimously approved the project, as well as approved recommending to Troy City Council that the prairie reserve be formally named the “Robinson Reserve at Duke Park.”

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