By Bob Balgemann


This village bills itself as “A Great Place to Call Home.”

As such, village officials are trying to make it more than just a town in which people live and pay taxes.

The most recent steps in attempts to make it a more diverse place were taken Thursday night, May 26 by the parks advisory board.

At that time, members discussed the possibility of having a dog park and how to generate more interest in the existing community garden.

Boy Scout Ian Neibarger proposed it as an Eagle Scout project and the park board thought that was a good idea.

One of the next steps is up to Neibarger and it would mean presenting the idea, plus fundraising plans, to his scout council. Should the proposals be approved, the next step would be to raise the money needed to create the dog park.

Then there’s determining a location for the park.

Currently, a favorite site is the former BMX bicycle track off Hill Street, across from village hall. When the track fell through the property was leveled, but the dirt was left on the property. So, if this land is selected the dirt will have to be removed before construction can begin.

Neibarger will get a helping hand from the start. Village President John Neitzel said the 2016-17 budget had $5,000 in it for a dog park.

If this happens, it will become the third Eagle Scout project in the village in recent years.

The first one was the gazebo adjacent to the Long Leaf Pine multi-use path in downtown Poplar Grove. It was built by Scout Jacob Dykstra and his family.

Last year a storage shed was built behind village hall by Scout Samuel George Maxey.

The village board also discussed the existing community garden behind the Marathon gas station at Countryside Mall. It was created in 2012 but never got the kind of use officials had hoped it would produce. So, they want to give it another try.

However, park board members agreed May 26 that it’s currently too late in the growing season to promote the merits of such a garden.

After discussion, it was agreed to talk it up through the print media and social media early next year. Meanwhile, board member Ron Maxey plans to till an area near the water tower, behind the mall, and put in some plantings.

He also will look for his copy of the plot locations, believing there are 10 or so planting beds in a grid system. President Neitzel will check village files for a plot map.

A source of water also needs to be determined, to keep plantings from dying out during the heat of summer and times when there is no rainfall.

In addition, the board will work on some guidelines for operation to the garden. They would provide those who utilize the garden with an overview of expectations.

Any resident who is interested may plant, but they would be required to control weeds in their areas and maintain their own vegetables and plants.

Some proposed points will be drafted and sent to Village Administrator Diana Dykstra for review.


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