Nature Center Built in Warner Robins | News
The Warner Robins mayor and council continue to say it: Parks are what the people want.
Five of six council members listed parks and recreation as their top priority the next four years, at a retreat last week.
As it turns out, one new spot popped-up without taxpayer dollars.
Community groups collaborated to create a Warner Robins Nature Center.
It was something of a secret garden.
Ben White, a biology teacher at Georgia Military College's Warner Robins campus, said, "It was in terrible shape. It had been abandoned."
White says five months ago, the acreage behind NAMI, a non-profit mental health organization, sat in disrepair.
Originally intended for horticulture therapy programs, the blossoms on the property lay dormant.
Executive Director for NAMI, Jeanne Bauer said, "NAMI funding was getting less and less. It just went into a horrible mess."
Bauer didn't know if it would ever recover. That is until White walked in with the key to unlock the area's potential.
White said, "We had the idea, GMC could come in and work with them, and partner with them, as far as maintaining the grounds."
Students raked, rehabbed and rebuilt decaying green houses. They constructed a classroom with critters, forged trails and fertilized long-forgotten foliage.
Bauer said, "I'm so happy. It's a dream come true for me."
It's an answer to problems that perennially plague city leaders.
Volunteer with Keep Warner Robins Beautiful Jim Taylor said, "The north side of town has been starving for renovation projects" And, the entire city for more recreation, he said.
Keep Warner Robins Beautiful partnered on the project, too.
Taylor said they asked the city to donate five acres of city-owned land adjacent to NAMI, which connects to public housing and Ferguson Park.
Taylor said, "It's a great way to utilize Ferguson Park, the housing authority and the NAMI property and city property to make one great family recreation area."
They envision field trips, summer camps and outdoor education springing from a forgotten garden that's now rediscovered.
The first event open to the public at the Warner Robins Nature Center will be an Earth Day celebration. That's Saturday May 3rd.
The Nature Center is located on Elberta Road, near Highway 247.
The city and and county have not committed any dollars to the nature center, only in-kind donations.
The City Recreation Director, James Dodson, says it's a family leisure activity that fits with the overall master recreation plan.