SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — The Ashtabula County Civic Development Corporation hosted its annual meeting in late April, and unveiled the Arboretum at Red Brook.
The project was created to celebrate the completion of the CDC’s 2020 fundraising campaign.
Amanda Tirotta, executive director of the CDC, said after previous fundraising campaigns, large donors previously received plaques, certificates or trophies to thank them for their donations. After the 2020 campaign, though, the CDC decided to do something different.
“In order to be more sustainable as an organization, and to demonstrate how our community grows together and feeds off of each other, the idea of the arboretum was to plant trees in place of those trophies and plaques, to have something that would last,” Tirotta said.
The trees were planted in October, with the help of the Metroparks, Leadership Ashtabula County and Youth Leadership, Tirotta said.
“Through the winter months, we worked on the signage,” she said.
Donors seemed very receptive to the idea, Tirotta said.
The CDC hosts fundraisers every five years. The group’s 2020 fundraising campaign raised $1.7 million for a variety of projects throughout Ashtabula County, including a new pavilion in the Ashtabula Harbor, a recreation park upgrade in Geneva-on-the-Lake, infrastructure improvements to the Grand River Nature Conservation Campus, and funds for a new bathhouse and concession building at Conneaut Township Park.
According to a press release from the CDC, the Arboretum is near Stowe Road, in Red Brook Metropark. The area has two signs which give information about the native trees that were planted and the donors that made the 2020 campaign successful, according to the press release.
“Maybe next campaign it could be park benches in that area,” Tirotta said. “Or we could identify another park or area that needs something. We like the idea of being sustainable and giving back.”
Metroparks staff were wonderful to work with, she said.
“We appreciate their hard work,” Tirotta said. “[Metroparks Operations Manager] Brett Bellas really took the lead on all the hard work, pre-digging the holes for the trees. He was there when the signs needed delivered, he put the signs together himself.”