Arboretum Wetland Construction Complete, Reopen to Public

After about a year of partial closure, the Arboretum is reopening in full. Construction was initially forecasted to conclude in December of 2021, but was delayed due to material and labor shortages and weather-related setbacks. The renovated Arboretum features a wetland designed to meet the recommendations put forth by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources following its 2018 inspection.

Prior to the inspection, the City Department of Public Works noted a four- to five-inch decrease in water level in the upper west Morgan Street reservoir and a clogged drain in the lower east reservoir. To rectify these issues and adhere to the ODNR’s recommendations, Public Works contracted Big Trees, Inc. of Columbia Station, OH, to convert the west reservoir into a wetland. 

In addition to resolving these issues, the Environmental Design Group, which was contracted to design the remediation, expressed hopes that the palustrine and forested wetlands would allow plant communities to thrive. In late summer of this year, Big Trees, Inc. subcontracted Schirmer Construction, which completed the implementation of a new boardwalk between the upper and lower wetlands, a wetland observation deck, a staircase at the wetland spillway, and handrails on an existing stone staircase. 

During the most recent phase of construction, the Arboretum was open to the public exclusively through the Ladies Grove and South Professor Street entrances. Many students are glad to see Arboretum access restored, including College fourth-year Jory Teltser.

“I like to go birdwatching in the Arb,” Teltser said. “I think it’s a really cool place to see birds, and it’s a really cool spot to walk and clear my head.”