ground at the Antioch Commons
Last Friday Antioch College President Joan Straumanis took a first step
toward implementing the Antioch Commons new multiuse plan when she
dug a shovelful of dirt in order to plant a new tree.
The ground-breaking ceremony, attended by local officials, community members
and Antioch College students, celebrated the planting of hundreds of new
trees in an area of the former golf course now designated
for reforestation as part of the areas recently-adopted plan.
This is an exciting day, said Straumanis. Its
the beginning of a lot of hard work as well as the culmination of a lot
of hard work.
The completed hard work took place over the summer, when a multiuse task
force, composed of Antioch students, faculty, staff and community members,
met weekly to decide how to best make use of the 25-acre area. Discussions
about its use have been taking place for years, said Antioch faculty member
Tom Ayrsman. The task forces challenge was to incorporate a variety
of community needs into the property, which extends from Corry Street
to Herman Street and from Allen Street to the college campus.
The groups recommendations, officially accepted at the October meeting
of the Antioch University Board of Trustees, involve dividing the area
up for a variety of uses, including larger areas for reforestation and
agricultural plots, a meadow-swale and recreational fields and smaller
areas for an ecological agricultural area, a campus community garden and
a sculpture garden.
Fridays ceremony inaugurated the reforestation aspect of the multiuse
plan. About 10 acres of the area, mainly at the southeast corner bordered
by Corry and Allen Streets, will be reforested, with an initial planting
of 300 red oak, green ash and tulip poplar trees. More trees, and a wider
variety of trees, will be planted in the future, said Antioch College
senior Robert Neifert, who worked on the plan for his senior project.
Its a significant change. Its initiating a lot of diversity,
said Ayrsman of the reforestation project. This sends a message
to students and to the community about the importance of continuing to
increase the biological diversity on the whole planet.
Concerns about how best to use the area grew through the years from science
students concerns over the ecological impact of the areas
mowing, said Ayrsman, who said the impetus for change came from students.
Ive been an advocate of students ideas, he said.
About a year ago, debate over the golf course came to a head, and the
task force was charged with creating a plan. The group included Bob Whyte,
executive director of the Glen Helen Ecology Institute, who chaired the
group, Antioch student Nathan Smith, Ayrsman, Bill Hooper of the Antioch
University Board of Trustees, Yellow Springs Village Manager Rob Hillard,
Roger Beal, local landscape architect, Antioch School Board President
Karen Wintrow and Antioch biological and environmental sciences professor
About 30 other individuals from various parts of the community attended
the groups meetings and expressed their needs and concerns.
The final recommendation looks like a winner, said Straumanis.
Its a true multiuse plan, just what we all wanted, she
said. The Commons will be used for play, for learning, for science
and for beauty.