CLEAR FORK VALLEY — The new year has village officials in the Clear Fork Valley doing lots of planning. and looking forward to changes.
A new wastewater treatment plant is being built near Butler. The Urban Meadows development in Bellville is already getting inquiries from people interested in purchasing plots.
A new project — a pollinator park — designed to bring more things beautiful to the area, will be installed outside Bellville toward the I-71 intersection with State Route 97 west. It will be near the parking lot of the bike trail. Pollinator parks are areas planted and designed with nectar and pollen producing plants that attracts pollinating insects.
Bellville mayor Teri Brenkus said this project is being aided by several people. Danielle Haydocy of the Clear Fork schools, Michael Retterer of the Pheasants Forever Inc. and Quails Forever, and Gabriel Karns, a professor at the Ohio State University are assisting.
Pollinator parks have pollen-rich plants like wildflowers and old-fashioned varieties of blooms. A succession of blooming annuals and perennials is best so nectar can be available through the growing season. Other plants like dill, fennel and milk week are desirable because butterflies can feed on larvae.
Brenkus said it will take three years for the garden to fill in.
Some items will be planted in the next few weeks. But because of the freeze and thaw cycle, some areas will be naturally seeded, according to Brenkus.
The items used will be natural in the area, said Brenkus.
The area has been staked out. This will make things easier for bikers, because some brush will be removed, Brenkus said.
Other villages have pollinator parks, Brenkus said. Fredericktown has one, and was aided by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in that project. That agency referred Bellville to Retterer.
Bellville’s big blue bridge, crossing the Clear Fork River, will receive a new coat of blue paint.
The sidewalk going south to Palm Park will be fixed, and the playground equipment there finished.
Brenkus said there also will be a public parking lot put in behind the River Rock restaurant by the Clear Fork, which will help businesses there and add more parking spot for football games.
Bellville has installed electronic signs, placed in various areas, which tell travelers how they are doing in terms of driving the speed limit. Brenkus said there has been feedback on those signs. There are two machines, and Brenkus is hoping they can be hard wired, then more signs added. The ones in use have to be recharged.
The signs collect data on the number of cars passing by. Brenkus said she “loves it” because people “purposely slow down.”
The Urban Meadows development will have areas opened in phases. Phase I should have spaces evident in March and April, Brenkus said. Urban Meadows is located south of Bellville on State Route 13.
People also will be able to buy plots at the new cemetery land, outside of town on State Route 97 west.
Some of the improvements along State Route 97 west should make the area nicer for “on and off” travelers using I-71, Brenkus said.
She added that the village will continue its music in the park events in the summer.
Bellville will continue its farmers’ market.
Butler is planning its annual Apple Fest event.
Brenkus added that because of warm weather, the skating rink has been largely unavailable this year and last. She said over the last two years, there have been only 11 skating days at the rink.
Bellville’s iconic Big Blue Bridge will receive a new coat of paint this year, blue, of course.