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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

A Few Clouds, 87 °F

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Beautification project slated to enhance iconic campus views


Visitors to Ohio University’s campus often remark about its natural beauty and the beauty of campus. Approach Athens, and the campus of Ohio University from any direction on US-33 and you can’t help but notice the sweeping views of brick buildings, rooflines, and cupolas, bordered by the Hocking River and surrounded by trees.

In recent years, vegetation growth has begun to obscure the view of OHIO’s South and East Greens from US-33. To preserve and promote the iconic sweeping views of campus, OHIO has contracted with TCS Forestry of Gallipolis to remove undergrowth from approximately six acres within the road right-of-way and adjacent to University property, between US-33 and the Hocking River. This project, slated to occur within the next few weeks, will take place along the Hocking River near the Rock Riffle Road (County Road 25) intersection with US-33. There will be no impact to traffic and no lane closures.

The contractors are certified arborists and pre-qualified by the Ohio Department of Transportation as right-of-way clearers. Vegetation removal was scheduled for the fall, rather than spring or summer, to avoid impact to nesting birds.

“Recognizing the visual character of the campus from US-33 is steadily becoming more obscured, University leadership has requested that the hillside area be cleared of underbrush and smaller diameter trees, including invasive species such as honeysuckle, autumn olive, and ornamental pear,” said Project Manager Mike McAvoy. Non-invasive tree species larger than six inches in diameter will remain, according to McAvoy. “The intent is to improve the visual character of campus from US-33, particularly for first-time visitors to the University.”

According to Landscape Coordinator Susan Calhoun, “The invasive species outcompete native plants by leafing out earlier in spring and holding foliage late into the fall, growing so thickly that they shade out other plants, and competing for water and nutrients.” She explained that the removal of these invasives will allow native species to reproduce and help curtail the spread of invasive plants in the community.