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Kids to help develop nature area in Payson

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A nature area studied by junior high school students for the past 17 years will be turned into a city park, and students will get to participate in the conversion.

The new Green Ridge Park will be carved out of a lush but wild area of trees and bushes known as The Hollow with Peteetneet Creek running through it. Georgetown Development will develop the park as part of a new residential community. But much of the area next to the creek will remain in its natural state after the cleanup.The City Council agreed Tuesday to work with Payson Junior High teacher Rex Hassard to begin developing a nature trail through The Hollow without pledging any financial help. Hassard asked the Council to pave the trail, but the Council declined. "We'll work on that," Hassard told the Deseret News.

Hassard said students, who have already cleaned trash out of The Hollow, developed the concept of a nature trail there and talked about publishing a guidebook. The guidebook would identify natural features along the trail.

A trail through The Hollow already exists, he said, although it needs more cleanup. Georgetown Development is to remove dead trees and plant grass in open areas.

"The nature trail would be a boon to elementary school students," Hassard suggested. The site is within walking distance from Park View Elementary School. In addition to the guidebook, which students would update on a regular basis, student Lindsy Drussel suggested the city add an amphitheater, pond and picnic tables.

"We have an opportunity to do something worthy of community pride," said Hassard.

The council agreed with Hassard after he volunteered to act as chairman of the school project. He said he would like to see a paved path through The Hollow with numbers imbedded in the pavement to correspond with the proposed guidebook.

Hassard estimated about 60 students would work on the project next school semester.