Rotary’s ‘Marietta’ landscaping will be moved during road work

A local landmark for 22 years, the Charlie Schob Discovery Garden on the northwest corner of the Seventh, Pike and Greene street intersection in Marietta, will have to be relocated to accommodate the traffic and pedestrian safety upgrade project at the intersection.

The mound-shaped garden landscape includes a series of hedges arranged to spell “Marietta,” surrounded by flowers planted against a background of evergreen trees.

“They need to have it there. I would miss it, especially when the flowers are in bloom. It looks really nice,” said Donna Ullman of Fleming.

Susan Vessels of Marietta was concerned that the garden might not be saved.

“I was worried that we would lose the garden and the ‘Marietta’ hedges altogether,” she said. “It’s such a nice landmark welcoming visitors into downtown Marietta.”

Joe Tucker, Marietta’s city engineer, said the garden relocation will be contracted by the Ohio Department of Transportation that’s administering the $3.1 million intersection upgrade project.

“It will probably look a little different. ODOT will have the garden moved back, away from traffic, and a retaining wall will be installed to protect it,” he said.

The garden has been maintained for more than two decades by the Marietta Morning Rotary Club, said club member Dave Haas who helps keep the garden planted, mulched and groomed.

“It’s been there since 1992 when the city of Columbus held a big flower show (Ameriflora) in honor of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus discovering America,” he said. “Marietta was one of several other Ohio cities that planned to participate by putting in a garden.”

Haas noted the Marietta Morning Rotary had just been established in 1990, and decided to take on the garden as a community project.

Charter club member Charlie Schob was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition.

“We named the garden for Charlie because he helped establish the garden and because of all the work he’s put into it over the years,” Haas explained.

Schob was not available for comment this week.

Haas said the club has been working with ODOT since winter to coordinate movement of the garden.

“They’ve been really good about communicating with us and we’re working with a landscape architect on the project,” he said. “Essentially the whole mound will be moved back to the area where the sidewalk is currently located.”

The new garden location will be built up a little from the original, Haas said, noting a couple of retaining walls will be constructed at the front and rear of the garden.

“It will be a single-plain structure with the front wall about one concrete block high, while the back side will be about three feet high,” he said. “We asked for the retaining walls to help keep mowers from damaging the garden’s sprinkler system.”

Haas said the entire garden will have to be torn out and re-planted in the new location, but the hedges spelling “Marietta” are not expected to be removed until August.

ODOT District 10 spokesman David Rose said it would likely be toward the end of August when the garden will be moved.

“Right now there’s been a little work done on that part of the intersection. Some trees have been removed, but the Morning Rotary is working with the landscape architect on what the final design will be after the garden is moved in August,” he said. “It will probably be at least a couple of weeks before we have a better idea of the final design.”

Rose said the entire intersection improvement project is scheduled for completion in November.

“After the project is done we will take over maintaining the garden again,” Haas said. “I think it will probably be better than ever when it’s finished.”

He noted Marietta College has been a great partner in keeping the garden, adjacent to the college’s property, in good shape.

“The college provides water for the garden and keeps the area around it mowed,” Haas said. “We spend about $1,000 a year to plant annuals in the mound, but Jack Haessly with Haessly Lumber donates the mulch, and the club adds a lot of sweat equity.”