DERBY — For many years, about seven acres at the east end of Derby (in Darby Township), had a school building on it for students from first grade thru high school.

With consolidation in the county, the school was reduced to an elementary school, and eventually fell victim to the wrecking ball and piles and heaps of rubble of brick and block. One building, which in its earlier days had been a bus barn and then converted to a classroom was saved.

Then, as if new life were being birthed, out of the old, new has emerged. The former bus barn now serves as the Township Building with offices, meeting room and a community room that can be rented for events and parties.

A covered gathering space has been added to the building and with a Pickaway County Park Board (PCPB) grant benches were added. To further reshape the school grounds, interested individuals, wanting to remember loved ones, saw to the construction of a “t” shaped brick walk from the road to midway in the former school yard, memorializing veterans in the community. Red metal benches have been placed alongside the walk again purchased with PCPB grant funding.

In the redevelopment of the area, ideas were garnered from a Survey Sheet of community people, suggesting ideas to further enhance the area for people of all ages to enjoy the new “park” space. A 2019 grant from the Pickaway County Park Board has enabled the local park committee to have a six foot wide, 600-plus foot walking path designed and installed. The path is now ready for the imprint of the Darby Township community, awaiting footprints of young and old.

To complete the area, a half-acre prairie garden has been seeded to give the heart and mind something interesting to focus on as one walks the path. The next stage of redevelopment will be in the playground area and a further extension of the walking path.

Submitted by Martha Jo Buller

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