Intersection Improvement Plan Could Disrupt Nature Preserve

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UPDATED: Monday April 1, 2013 6:41 PM

It centers on the aligning state Route 315 at U.S. Route 23 near the Stratford Ecological Center.

The Stratford Ecological Center is a place where farm animals can roam and gardening is a way of life.

Jeff Dickinson is both the farmer and the executive director of the center. He says the idea of the center is to connect kids with food and nature.

The center is a 236-acre nature preserve just south of the City of Delaware, off Liberty Road.

One of three proposals on the table to improve the safety and traffic flow of the intersection of U.S. 23 and S.R. 315 would mean rerouting part of S.R. 315 through the ecological center.

“So we would lose a couple of acres, and that is a concern for us because we are about green space and farmland preservation,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson said with that space gone, children’s programs would be affected.

Delaware City spokesman Lee Yoakum says both the city and the Ohio Department of Transportation are aware of the concerns of those at the center, and the concerns of others who could be impacted by the proposed changes to the intersection.

Lee Yoakum said, “Our goal right now is to identify an alternative that improves safety, improves the level of service and has the least impact on stake holders as possible.”

Dickinson said for him, it's about more than losing 2 acres of property.  Its potential development and increasing loss of farmland that he fears will diminish the beauty of the peaceful nature preserve.

Dickinson says the center's land is protected by the Office of Farmland Preservation under the Department of Agriculture, and it would require approval of both the director of the department and the governor for the land to be taken for roadway development.

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