Learning center nears completion

ST. MARYS – The Elk County Conservation District is hard at work getting the West Creek Wetland Learning Center ready for its grand opening.The grand opening is set for Wednesday, Sept. 28, which is also Elk County Conservation District Day."The majority of the landscaping of the rain and flower garden is complete for the year, except for minor details that will be completed before the grand opening," said watershed specialist Kim Bonfardine. Bonfardine would also like to build a flower box on the bottom of the wooden fence to hide the portable bathroom facility and plant a few climbing plants."There are a few other issues that need addressed, such as the plant life establishing on the trail-- the edge of the trail around the pavilion needs fixed so the crushed limestone doesn't run onto the cement when it rains, and the care of the wood on the pavilion," Bonfardine said. "The landscaping and maintenance will be an ongoing effort as we figure out the items that need tweaked."The Conservation District is currently waiting on benches to be delivered and is still working on the signage."We have run into an issue with the cost of the design of the signs," Bonfardine said.An 11-foot-long by six-foot-wide stone will be installed at the entrance to the learning center. "It will be a great entrance sign," Bonfardine said. "We first thought about putting it up by the rain garden and then when I got to talking to Gary [Eckert], he drove down to the site, he said, 'You need a great big rock and I know just the one.' "It's going to be beautiful and I can't wait to see it."S&T Excavating will install the stone prior to the grand opening."If you haven't seen it [learning center] since the last board meeting, you probably wouldn't even recognize the place," said district manager Steve Putt. "They did a really great job with the rain and flower garden. It's pretty impressive."Pick up a copy of the Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.