Operation Cloverleaf provides landscaping, more

·3 min read

May 28—MIAMI COUNTY — Leaders often describe the Interstate 75 interchange(s) as an introduction to their community.

In Miami County, the state of interchanges ranges from a nearly 20-year public/private partnership for care of the interchange at Ohio 41 in Troy to a decades-old public project at the U.S. 36 interchange at Piqua to ongoing discussion in Tipp City for the best approach to the interchange at Ohio 571.

This is the 19th season for Operation Cloverleaf, a group of local businesses providing landscape management at the 18-acre cloverleaf at Ohio 41 and the interstate.

The Operation Cloverleaf Group provides mowing, tree pruning, shrubbery trimming, fertilization, weed control and landscape bed mulching. The total area of the Cloverleaf is 18 acres. The Operation Cloverleaf group has provided labor, materials and equipment to maintain this area.

The in-kind contribution from the companies is around $70,000 a year, said Ted Mercer of the Mercer Group, who spearheaded the volunteer management program's formation and its work over the years. The group has been recognized for its efforts including, among others, being named recipient of the local chamber of commerce's community service award and recognized by the Ohio Department of Transportation

The companies that have been involved since the inception are Greentech Lawn and Irrigation; Ever-Green Turf and Landscape; Mercer Group; Andersons Tree Care; Quality Lawn, Landscape and Fence; and Tree Care Inc. A new member this year is Groundskeeper Landscape Group.

"The owners of these local companies and their staff truly need a big thank you for their service and commitment over these years. They all say this is one way they can give back to their community," Mercer said.

Other partners include ODOT, the city and Troy Beautification Committee.

An account to support Operation Cloverleaf is at The Troy Foundation. Money donated is used to replace dead trees and shrubs.

In Piqua, the I-75/US36 Interchange Enhancement Project with landscaping at infields of on/off ramps, landscape walls, signs, topsoil, trees and plants was completed in 2011 at a total cost of $199,026. Of that, $158,220 was from ODOT Enhancement Funds with the balance local dollars.

A US36 Beautification Project for landscape and roadway improvements included curbing, pavers, drainage, signs, topsoil signs and plants. This work was done in 2013 for $615,000 with $288,945 in federal funds and the balance in local funds, according to project details provided by the city of Piqua.

The city contracts the landscaping and mowing maintenance with a budget of $17,930 annually.

The city also is looking at added measures at the interchange, including increased city involvement in the maintenance. Additions may include litter pickup cycles, natural habitat development and vegetation management, said Brittany Van Horn, the city's public relations/special events coordinator.

In Tipp City, council and administrators continue to explore options for the Ohio 571 interchange.

Several concepts have been suggested and explored over the past several years.

A possible project again is before the city council, which welcomed five new members to the seven-member dais in January.

A contract was signed recently with consultants KZF Designs of Cincinnati to do a 3D rendering of a possible interchange design similar to one to Fairborn off U.S. 675. That interchange features pavers and vegetation in a tiered layout

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.