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Tuscarawas County Commissioners Chris Abbuhl, Joe Sciarretti and Al Landis (center, left to right) and Parks Manager Jesse Rothacher (far left), pose with SWARM's Amy Mathews and Rome Marinelli in front of the new pollinator garden alongside the Courthouse Annex in Downtown New Philadelphia. (Tusco TV)

NEW PHILADELPHIA - The Tuscarawas County Commissioners are marking the completion of a courthouse beatification project they hope will make the area more attractive to the creatures that pollinate our fields and gardens.

The commissioners recently partnered with the Sustainable Wildlife Restoration Movement to revamp the concrete flower beds along the alley next to the courthouse annex. SWARM founder Rome Marinelli says the installation features a variety of perennials, all native to this part of Ohio.

“We included nine different flowering species, all native to Tuscarawas County, one grass species, which is vital to habitat restoration because the grasses and the forbs and the flowers, they all work together to create this underground net of root systems that help keep invaders or undesirable plants out,” he explains. 

Marinelli says it took them several days to remove the Japanese lanterns and other invasive plants growing there. He says the installation isn’t much to look at right now, but by this time next year, it will be a thriving natural garden. 

“What we want this place to look like and what it will look like is more of a natural area. It won’t look like this landscaped bed where you see a lot of mulch, you see like maybe one or two plants. You’ll see a lot of plants. It’ll be just green with a lot of different colorful blooms going on,” he says.  

Marinelli says they’re grateful to the commissioners for doing their part to combat pollinator decline by restoring their natural habitat. 

“Habitat loss is one of the biggest components as to why pollinators are declining, and it’s because they literally don’t have the habitat to survive or thrive, so these spaces here, utilizing space that was once nothing and doing something progressive and proactive with it, that’s what the movement of SWARM is all about,” he says. 

Commissioner Chris Abbuhl says the project goes hand-in-hand with the improvements underway inside the building.

“We’re doing a lot of work on the interior part so we want to also do some work on the exterior part of the building, and it’ll look great, particularly next spring when all these different flowers start blooming, and then they put them in stages where there’s different colors at different times, and it’s the natural flowers that are native to Ohio, and it brings in the bees to be able to pollinate,” he says. 

The commissioners paid $3,000 for the installation, which includes a one-year maintenance agreement. 


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