Visitors to the Pleasant Grove area on the east side of Columbus could find themselves surrounded by butterflies, bees and native plants under plans to redevelop the neighborhood as a park.
The area, east of Haw Creek near the Cummins Technical Center, is being targeted as a site for a pollinator park.
The idea was inspired by the upcoming 10-year anniversary of the 2008 flood in Columbus, said Eric Riddle, the Columbus author of “Watershed: Service in the Wake of Disaster,” which focused on that local disaster.
After the 2008 flood, Columbus purchased 48 flood-damaged homes in the Pleasant Grove area through a buyout program, using $4.36 million in grants provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Jeff Bergman, city-county planning director.
Those homes, later demolished, were located on 8.4 acres of land, Bergman said. Homeowners who voluntary chose to sell their homes to the city were paid fair-market, pre-flood value, he said. Terms of the grant used to purchase the properties mandate that they remain undeveloped and as green space in perpetuity, Bergman said.
Under the first phase of the proposed project, a looped trail system, benches and an outdoor classroom would encompass 3.5 acres, said Rachel Kavathe, a landscape designer who owns Loci Creative, a landscape architecture and urban design firm based in Columbus that helped create the Pleasant Grove design. In addition, native grasses and plants that would attract pollinator species such as bees and butterflies would also be part of the proposed park.
A memorial marking the 2008 flood is also planned, Kavathe said.
For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.