By JIM MAURER
The Hancock Park District will receive more than $1.4 million in grants for wetlands development and nutrient reduction improvements on property adjacent to Oakwoods Nature Preserve.
The park district acquired the land in 2006 and 2009 with the long-term plan to utilize it as a conservation area. In the interim, the land has been rented out as farmland.
Last year the park district board decided to stop farming the property and instead restore wetlands, plant trees and establish prairie grasses in the area, which is located just north of Oakwoods Nature Preserve entrance.
On Tuesday, the park district board of commissioners accepted a $753,000 H2Ohio Fund grant through the state Department of Natural Resources. The state agency approved a 100 percent reimbursable grant to the park district for the East Nutrient Reduction and Wetland Restoration Project.
Project design will be done this year, and work is expected to begin in August and be completed by May 2021.
Also, last month the federal Environmental Protection Agency approved the Aurand Run Riparian Wetland Restoration Project at Oakwoods Nature Preserve for a $651,800 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant. Those funds should arrive in about six months.
After advertising for and reviewing statements of qualifications from environmental consulting firms, Coldwater Consulting, Galena, was approved by the board to design and oversee the two projects. The board approved $385,800 for the expenses, about 27 percent of the grant funds to be received for the project.