Hamilton Set to Break Ground on City’s First Pollinator Park During MLK Day of Service Event

By: Jeff Gambrell 

Butler County Connect Community News and Events

HAMILTON – Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a term many have probably heard by now. Coined in 2006, it refers to the phenomenon where beekeepers have observed the disappearance of adult honeybees in colonies by as much as 50% annually. Though this poses an obvious threat to global honey supplies, a more significant issue has since been identified as pollinating insects as a whole have been in steady decline. A recent study by the USDA has demonstrated a 23% reduction in wild bee populations nation-wide is attributed to the loss of natural pollinator habitats in the Midwest due to conversion to farmland. With the City of Hamilton first taking action in 2018 through the legalization of beekeeping city-wide, they are poised to take a step further by breaking ground on the city’s first pollinator park.

Pollinator parks are designated spaces intentionally designed to have native vegetation known to serve as excellent nectar and host plants for pollinating insects. Oftentimes, these parks are carefully planned to include perennial, drought-resistant plants creating a low-maintenance space. Hamilton’s Department of Neighborhoods, which is actively involved in this project, had been exploring options to decrease costs associated with city-owned land banks when this idea came to them. Reaching out to local community leaders, the city views a public/private partnership as a potential way to reduce maintenance expenses, support pollinating insects, and create vibrant spaces throughout the community. “These vacant lots present challenges to neighborhoods related to their appearance and maintenance”, says Department of Neighborhoods Director Brandon Saurber. “This project could become a model to be replicated in neighborhoods across the city.”

The community is slated to break ground on the pollinator park next Saturday, January 16th as part of the MLK Day of Service. While all planting will have to wait until spring when the ground has thawed, volunteers are asked to come out to assist with prep work to get the space, located at the corner of South Fourth and Henry Streets, ready. In addition to the city’s commitment to the project, the Department of Neighborhoods has also received generous support from Serve Ohio in the form of a $1,742 MLK Day of Service grant. Volunteers are asked to check the Facebook event prior to arriving for COVID-19 safety precautions.

Alfred Hall, Founder/Former Executive Director of Hamilton Urban Gardens, is the visionary behind the pollinator park’s design. “As an advocate for native habitat restoration, I felt it was important to get involved with the design, installation, and maintenance of the Pollinator Park on S 4th Street”, states Hall. “It is a win for the pollinators and beneficial insects, the neighborhood and city, and the environment”.

To learn more about the upcoming MLK Day of Service event, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/3568146739947457.

For more information on the park’s progress or to learn how to live more sustainably, follow: https://www.facebook.com/GoGreenHamilton.