Updated 02/23/2011 03:14 PM
Guilford County creates urban nature preserve
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GREENSBORO – An overgrown piece of land in southeast Greensboro is getting a facelift. The Guilford County Open Space Committee is clearing the area to make way for an urban nature preserve. It's the first of it's kind for the group. Neighbors say it couldn't come at a better time.
These workers from the Guilford County Prison Farm are working hard. They've nearly cleared 6.5 acres near Benbow Park in Greensboro.
“Really, the best way to describe it, is that it looked like a jungle. It was covered in vines and invasive species. Vegetation so dense that you couldn't see through it,” said Alex Ashton with Guilford County Parks and Open Space.
They're working to turn the area into a nature preserve. It's the first of it's kind for Guilford County Parks and Open Space.
“This is our first urban project that we've done to date.” Ashton said, “Most of the open space projects have focused on more rural projects out in the county, 100 plus acres.”
Ashton points out an open space is much different from a park. He says the area will be managed passively making as little of an impact as possible.
“Some of the uses that could be on open space property like I say would be low impact passive in nature, and the potential for things like a walking trail there could be a local foods component,” said Ashton.
And officials say this cleanup couldn't have come at a better time. This area has had a long history of dumping as well as illegal activities hidden by the thick brush.
“And so we're hoping by opening it up that there will be more eyes on the property, the community watch can go into effect and it will help mitigate some of those problems,” Ashton said. “And thanks to work from the prison crew the area is moving closer to the makeover being complete.”
The property purchase was made possible by a 2004 bond referendum. The Alumnae Delta Sorority owned the property and has helped pay for some of the cleanup. Officials are looking in High Point to purchase their second urban open space.