By Sally Voth -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Woodstock Tree Board members will join town leaders in a ribbon cutting Friday at the Indian Spring Wetland Observation Area.
Indian Spring runs under Water Street and onto the east side of the road, and there is a stream on the west side of the street. The observation deck overlooks that spring and nearby wetlands.
The ribbon cutting -- which is for the first phase of the park -- is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday. According to a news release from the town, council members and Mayor Jeremy McCleary will be among those in attendance.
The observation deck was built last summer with $50,000 in stimulus funding that came through a Virginia Department of Forestry grant, assistant town planner Angela Clem said.
Woodstock resident Clinton Miller donated an acre of land on South Water Street in February 2005, Clem said last summer.
"Since that time, the WTB has been working to develop the area for interpretation and use by both school or civic groups and the general public," the release states.
In a Wednesday afternoon phone interview, Clem said interpretive signs were recently put up, and a volunteer built benches on the deck. The signs explain what wetlands are, describe the Indian Spring Wetland and discuss the plants and animals that live there, she said.
The town's website and a teacher's guide provide information about invasive plants, water quality and the important role wetlands play, according to the release.
Clem said the project has been a partnership involving the town, the tree board, students from Central High School and James Madison University and the Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.
As more funding becomes available, it's hoped the park will expand to include a boardwalk where students could sample water quality, the planting of native species and a trail around the nearby retention pond, according to Clem.
She recounted a story Councilwoman Alicia Gutshall told her fellow council members recently.
"There was someone in a van," Clem recounted. "They were getting someone in a wheelchair out of the van, and they were able to roll up to the observation deck because we have the handicapped access. They were able to just go out there and enjoy nature. Localities try to make their locations accessible. I think we succeeded on this one.
"We know some people use it for reflective time. Some people take their lunch out there."
Clem said the town would welcome donations, including that of materials.