Tucker Creek Sanctuary
AN AMENITY IN FOCUS:
In this piece, PCPW will share its thoughts and value proposition around one particular amenity – the Tucker Creek Sanctuary.
Tucker Creek traces its course along the southern perimeter of the UMCH (United Methodist Children’s Home) property. It enters the UMCH space via a culvert under High St., flows west the entire width of the park, and exits via a second culvert running under Evening St. From there it flows to the Olentangy River crossing beneath Tucker Rd, where the creek gets its name, in the process. The area to be protected compromises some eight to twelve acres along both sides of Tucker Creek’s run along the southern UMCH perimeter, all of which are pristine woodlands and wetlands that have never been farmed or developed.
WHY A SANCTUARY?
Our fundamental belief is that the UMCH property is irreplaceable in terms of its size, location, and lack of previous development to serve as Worthington’s much needed Central Park. While the commercial development that has been proposed for this space, can be easily located in multiple other locations around Worthington, a contiguous stretch of 30+ acres of parkland can be located in no place other than UMCH. We further believe, that within this 30+ acres are eight to twelve that should be reserved and further protected as a healthy and sustainable ecosystem for birds, butterflies, local indigenous species of plants and trees as well as wetlands and a ravine.
We are also quite concerned by the consequences of what would happen were the UMCH property to be developed commercially. If the ravine area itself were to be developed, a pristine woodland and wetland, that has existed in its natural state up to this date, would be lost forever. That said, even if this ravine area were spared the developer’s bulldozer, our concern becomes the ability of Tucker Ravine to absorb what could be a massive amount of storm run-off, from 30+ acres of paved land. Even today, Tucker Creek overflows its banks once or twice a year on its downstream course along Tucker Rd. as it flows into the Olentangy. Development of the UMCH property could only make this situation worse.
REALIZING THE VISION:
As one might presume, the initial must-do to securing the Tucker Ravine area as a wildlife sanctuary is for the city of Worthington to buy the UMCH property and develop most of the acreage as a community park. With long term control of the ecologically valuable property, which sits within this parcel, safely in city hands, our proposal is to then have Worthington follow the model that Columbus, Dublin, Mt. Ary and other municipalities have followed for transforming the Tucker Creek area into a protected sanctuary. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has multiple programs, such as the Clean Ohio Fund, which can provide the necessary support and resources to secure ecologically important areas, such as Tucker Creek. Additionally, volunteer groups have existed across central Ohio for multiple decades and have deep experience such specialties as invasive species identification and removal as well as ravine and wetlands restoration and ongoing maintenance.
Our thought is to establish a Worthington presence within these organizations to assist with ravine, wetland, woodland restoration and ongoing stewardship at Tucker Creek. We would also add that PCPW has learned, as part of its ongoing campaign over the last twelve months, of the strong and shared sentiment to see this land preserved and protected which has convinced us that this effort would be enthusiastically supported with active participation and volunteer funding.
PCPW feels that preserving Tucker Creek is the right thing to do; we also feel strongly that protecting this ravine area will open up interesting synergies and opportunities across the community. One of particular interest is the installation of a land laboratory within this protected space. Our view is that this facility would be utilized by Worthington students and residents as part of both our school’s curriculum as well as opening up adult learning opportunities for all residents. This topic will be further explored in a separate blog post on Tucker Ravine Outdoor Education … stay tuned!
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
- You’d be surprised how many of the ideas discussed in this piece came out of PCPW community forums and chats with fellow citizens. We’d love to hear from you; please submit your ideas and thoughts through our contact form.
- Sign the petition! Then, please ask your spouse, partner, neighbor or Worthington friend to sign the petition!
- Question our thirteen city council candidates on their views on this topic and then vote accordingly.