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Pollinator garden plans sting council members in Lisbon

LISBON – A proposed pollinator garden brought quite the controversy to Lisbon village council’s Tuesday evening meeting. 

The Chamber of Commerce applied for a beautification grant through the land bank and presented a tentative plan last week to the Columbiana County Land Reutilization Corp. board for a pollinator garden with plans to plant the garden in the village. Mayor Peter Wilson, who serves on the Chamber of Commerce board, was a part of the presentation along with president Susan Shank. Shank came before council during their meeting to get permission to place the garden within village limits–preferably in the village park near the work-in-progress exercise path or by the community pool. 

Council president Dawn Thomas said that council was not given enough information about the project before it was presented to the land bank, and that council should have been advised about their plans to put the garden on village land.

“I’m disappointed, Pete. The email you sent to us was extremely vague as if you didn’t really know what this was, I think your email to us was very misleading,” Thomas said, referencing an email that Wilson sent to council about the project. 

Thomas was concerned that the project was presented to the land bank as a definite plan without council approval, but Shank and Wilson both said all the plans were presented as tentative. 

“My presentation continually refers to the project possibly being in Lisbon as a tentative plan,” Shank said. 

Thomas also took issue with the proposed location of the garden, citing several articles that warn against placing pollinator gardens in areas with high-foot traffic. 

“I don’t see how that could be a good idea for the people or the bees, I thought the point of a pollinator park was so that these bees and butterflies and such had a habitat to grow and thrive,” Thomas said. 

Shank said that she collaborated with the Ohio State University Extension office, three different educators along with multiple master gardeners who all advised that the garden could be placed in the proposed locations. 

Part of the proposed plan was to have McKinley Elementary students use the area as an educational tool. Students would help plant the bulbs and then study the garden as it grows. 

Wilson said that he didn’t think presenting an educational 

opportunity for young students would be an issue which is why he thought the topic could be brought to council after the grant was approved. 

“This is a grant for the village, for the good of the village. $3,750 to put an educational park into village land . . . I thought it was a good idea. My apologies if some of you feel slighted by the lack of information beforehand,” Wilson said. He said that the Chamber of Commerce should be thanked for the idea, not criticized.  

Councilman Jerry Cox disagreed and said they were merely discussing it, not criticizing it. 

The discussion was tabled and Shank will prepare another presentation for council for their next meeting on May 25. 

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