Snyder Park gardens open to vistors as construction continues

Snyder Park Gardens & Arboretum is open for residents to enjoy the outdoors as the coronavirus pandemic continues - despite construction within the park.

“Research has shown just the visual site of plants can help reduce stress,” Pamela Bennett, associate professor of the Ohio State University Extension said. “We want to encourage people to get out and enjoy nature. Be safe of course, that’s priority right now, but the Snyder Park Gardens & Arboretum is a place where you can do that.”

Bennett explained that the 50 acre park has plenty of space for individuals to social distance and visit the seven gardens.

“Each individual garden is wide enough that you could easily keep more than 10 people in a garden and not be within the 6 feet,” Bennett said. Masks are recommended, she added.

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The arboretum was the former home of Snyder Park Golf Course but within the last several years has been transformed into a horticulture education garden and greenspace.

Development is continuing with the construction of a pavilion that will be the main gathering space in the park, Bennett said.

In the fall, Bennett said they are planning to install the Springfield Foundation feature garden, followed by a fundraiser for sidewalks that will connect the gardens . A grand entrance is also in the works, she added.

A landscape designer will use the archway from the now-demolished Crowell-Collier building, as well as several pieces that were preserved from the former Memorial Hall to create a combined art piece that resembles an ancient ruin for the grand entrance, Bennett said.

Additional pieces of Springfield’s history will be incorporated throughout the arboretum — from a trail of 10-pound bricks from the former International Harvester plant in the Lagonda Avenue area to fencing from an old house in the city.

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During the pandemic, Bennett explained that volunteers were able to plant and maintain the gardens because they received an exemption from Ohio State University. The university suspended face-to-face research because of the pandemic.

“Snyder Park is a beautiful area and we really had to make sure that the university understood that we can’t just let this area go and become weedy,” Bennett said.

She added that they have noticed a decrease in traffic through the park due to COVID-19 and the cancelling of face-to-face programs.

“We hope to get back to face-to-face programming and garden tours next year,” Bennett said. “This year we are going to do some virtual programming like Facebook Live tours of the garden to at least show people who can’t get down there what’s going on.”

The gardens and space at Snyder Park Gardens & Arboretum is an opportunity for individuals to improve their mental and physical health, Bennett said.

“We see this as a great centerpiece for people to come to Springfield,” Bennett added.

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