What was once a residential neighborhood for adults and children could become a vital habitat for insects such as butterflies and bees.

Some local residents are proposing that the Pleasant Grove area on the east side of Columbus be turned into a pollinator park.

Pollinating insects are vital in the growth of fruits humans eat and seeds that create plants. Many flowers and plants would not exist without pollinators such as honey bees, monarch butterflies and hummingbirds.

Efforts nationwide to create such parks to help pollinators thrive began after federal agencies started a public-awareness campaign in 2015 to bring attention to the rapid depletion of pollinators across the country.

The proposed pollinator park in Columbus would be based on a Jennings County model, which started in July 2015 by planting native flowers and grasses at schools, parks and its industrial park.

Six acres of North Vernon’s 60-acre Tripton Park have been dedicated as a pollinator space, all of the elementary schools in the county also have pollinator gardens, and Jennings officials have worked to plant native flowers near creeks.

Jennings officials said pollinator parks also support the migration of monarch butterflies.

Pleasant Grove was one of the neighborhoods hit hard by the June 2008 flood. The damage resulted in the Federal Emergency Management Agency purchasing homes to raze, creating open green space that would mitigate future damage if another big flood hit the city.

Five acres in the Pleasant Grove area, currently idle greenspace, are proposed for the Columbus pollinator project.

Pollinators play a vital role in nature, and helping sustain their populations benefit humans and the communities in which they live.

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