AURELIA - For several years, the town of Aurelia sought advice about what they could do with a wetlands area along Highway 7 on the east edge of town. A decision was finally made that one-tenth of an acre could be destroyed due to drought conditions, and Denny Allen, with the assistance of the Aurelia Kiwanis Club, set about developing the area into something the town would find useful and be proud of.
Allen purchased steel from Joel Thevenin and wood from Aurelia Lumber and constructed two foot bridges in his shop at his farm, one of which even has an arched steel rail which Allen welded. Members of the Kiwanis Club helped paint the bridges and construct wood pilings,and they were then transported to the wetlands, with the intention of constructing a walking path, which will be open to all.
Allen hauled in 600 tons of dirt (an estimated 40-50 truckloads) to the area, and he has been using his trusty skid loader to move the dirt around. He also laid down a limestone walking path, and Bill Smith Construction of Aurelia recently poured and laid about 1000 feet of concrete. Allen also built a gazebo along the path, and he plans to install a picnic table with seating for 6 in the gazebo. The table will sit on a small concrete area which Smith Construction poured.
Allen said the path is not complete yet, though people may certainly walk on it now. When it is completed, the limestone trail will continue east toward the blacktop and then run north parallel to the blacktop, behind the Methodist Church, and up to Ash Street, which is the street fronting the Alta-Aurelia school. The completed path will be approximately one mile in length.
Allen said he hopes the path will not only be beneficial to citizens' health and well-being, he also hopes that it becomes an educational experience. He said a naturalist visited the area and estimated that there are 43 different types of plants in that small area, and he is hoping to talk to representatives of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) about posting some signs along the path to point out and describe the various plants.
Allen says the total cost of the completed path will be about $19,500, and contributions to the project are certainly welcome. Donations should be directed to the Aurelia Heritage Society (Bob Stroud, chairman). Allen says approximately $5500 has been raised to date.