Darby Creek Association, Inc.
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Historical notes of Darby Creek Association, Inc.

The following notes detail the first several years of DCA’s existence. Kay Boggs, former President and Trustee, kept excellent records of what happened over the years.

Then, as now, people more interested in turning the Creek and its ecosystem into an "economic resource" have threatened the beauty of the Creek we are dedicated to protect. Then, as now, DCA has had to mobilize citizen involvement to ensure short-sighted urban planners and developers did not ruin a precious and irreplaceable natural treasure.

June 5, 1967 – From the Columbus Dispatch: Columbus to acquire land for Upper Darby site. $750,000 allocated in the city budget to start acquiring land. Will require 4,000 acres to provide 30 million gallons per day. To have 10.5 billion gallon capacity. Completion date – 1980.

April 27, 1970 – Brown Township Civic Association organized.

November 9, 1971 – First official meeting. Big Darby Creek Committee of the Central Ohio Sierra Club.

November 18, 1971 – From a Corps of Engineers Publication dated January 1971. Lower Darby Dam – Drainage area 448 square miles. Dam to be 3000 feet long, 100 feet high. Surface area 676 acres. Permanent pool for recreation purposes. All Federal cost of $55,700,000.

June 3, 1972 – Organizational meeting by Ohio Environmental Council to preserve rivers. Later to be known as Rivers Unlimited. Second organization meeting June 23.

September 12, 1972 – Records of Big Darby Creek Committee transferred to Darby Creek Association, Inc. First meeting to elect officers and board members, September 15 at the Brown Township meeting house. At this meeting Ray Bradley showed slides he had taken from a helicopter – these were shown to many groups in the following years.

November 17, 1972 – Public meeting at Frey Avenue School in West Jefferson.

November 17, 1973 – Law on Scenic River designation under attack in Federal Court. The law was upheld by a three-judge panel in the Federal District Court in Cleveland.

November 29, 1973 – ODNR Director Nye announced plans to appoint an advisory group representing 20 local state and Federal agencies to hold first meeting next month. I would pertain to land use along a 23 mile stretch of Big Darby Creek from Plain City to Harrisburg.

December 13 – First meeting of Corridor Study.

January 18, 1974 – News release from ODNR: Public meetings January 28 and February 2 to discuss possible designation to State Scenic River.

February 5, 1974 – Director Nye published notice of intent to declare Darby Creek a State Scenic River. Columbus has 60 days to show why it should not be.

February 8, 1974 – Re-organizational meeting of DCA at Brown Township Hall. The president Jerry Bangham moved out of the state, Kay Boggs elected President.

February 13, 1974 – Madison County Regional Planning Commission voted to support Scenic designation.

March 31, 1974 – Dr. J. L Lehr urges Columbus to drill wells south of Columbus. He said surface dams are wasteful compared to wells. Dr. Carol Stein stressed need to save Creek for future study.

April 7, 1974 – Citizen alert sheet distributed (over 5,000 printed). Sponsored by DCA, Columbus Audubon Society, Central Ohio anglers and Hunters and other friends of the Big Darby. Petitions being passed and bumper stickers available.

April 18, 1974 – City of Columbus filed suit in Franklin County Common Pleas court to prohibit Director Nye from giving the Darby Scenic River designation.

May 2, 1974 – Judge Rader signed order restricting Nye from designating Creek a Scenic Waterway until entire lawsuit had been decided.

May 15, 1974 – ODNR requested lawsuit be moved from Common Please to District Court.

May 31, 1974 – Director Nye explained impact of the 1968 Scenic Rivers Act – a guarantee in writing to landowners that their rights will not be changed. It was the first legislation of its kind in the nation.

August, 1974 – Corridor Study released.

August 19, 1974 – Judge Robert Duncan ordered the case in US District Court remanded to the court in Franklin County.

September 11, 1974 – Nine organizations filed a motion to intervene in the case on behalf of ODNR.

October 22, 1974 – Bicentennial Commission of Madison County passed a resolution requesting ODNR to include Little Darby in Scenic Rivers Program.

November 18, 1974 – Case heard in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

July 31, 1975 – Engineering study of Burgess and Niple and environmental impact and ecological assessment by Battelle Memorial Institute completed. Plan calls for 2,310 acres to be inundated and 2,575 additional acres to be purchased as a park.

April 19, 1976 – Kay Boggs and Eva Mae Huggett attend American Rivers Conference in Washington DC. Got pointers on how to fight projects involving damns and reservoirs.

May 2, 1976 - Common Pleas Court Judge Rader ruled, blocking ODNR’s efforts to prevent Columbus from building a dam and reservoir on Big Darby.

May 12, 1976 – Quote from Herb Rumfield: "How can a Franklin County Judge give away Madison County land?"

May 19, 1976 - Director Teater said he will ask the Attorney General, William J. Brown, to appeal the decision by Judge Rader to the Franklin County Court of Appeals.

May 26, 1976 – Bicentennial Commission of Madison County and the Northwest Historical Society passed resolutions asking Director Teater do all possible to make Darby a Scenic River. Other organizations and clubs were urged to do the same.

June, 1976 – Quote from ODNR Lawyer Bruce Cryder: "The decision is expected in 4 to 6 months from the Appeals Court."

July 12-16, 1976 - Free Speech on Channel 10. Donna Hammond read poem "Dig a Well."

March 17, 1977 - Scenic Rivers Law ruled unconstitutional by Franklin County Court of Appeals – 2 to 1 decision. Judge Alba Whitside and Judge Dean Strausbaugh in majority with Robert Holmes dissenting.

March 22, 1977 – Director Teater said the Department will appeal the Franklin County Court decision to the Ohio Supreme Court.

April 20, 1977 – Director Teater recommended the Lower Darby dam and reservoir be deauthorized.

June 20, 1977 – Martin Nicol from Madison County reported on Farm Bureau study – Darby Dam would hurt drainage. The ASCS report cites three major soil types in the area which would surround the dam.

January 24, 1978 – Arguments heard before the Ohio Supreme Court by Assistant Attorney General Dennis Muchnicki and Earl J. Selbiman for the City of Columbus.

March 9, 1978 – Columbus proposed annexation of 3.98 square mile tract in Hamilton Township to Columbus. Purpose is to drill 4 wells. Wells reported to be 20 feet in diameter and 110 feet deep. Hearing to be April 19. The tract was formerly part of the Hartman Farms.

March 21, 1978 – Franklin County rural zoning approved a conditional use permit to drill 3 wells.

March 29, 1978 – Ohio Supreme Court in a unanimous decision holds that the Ohio Scenic River Law is constitutional. Those organizations filing amicus briefs were: Rivers Unlimited, Little Miami Inc., Upper Cuyahoga Association, League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, Ohio Environmental Council, Stillwater River Association, Darby Creek Association, Izaak Walton League, Audubon Society.

June 29, 1978 – Letters to Director Teater and Governor Rhodes got very little encouragement – further studies being made – need money to administer – etc.

July 18, 1978 – West Jefferson Council urged by David Pieton and artist Herb Rumfield to take active part in fight to preserve Darby Creek Scenic River.

August 2, 1978 – U.S. Corps of Engineers to halt plans to build dam at Georgesville.

February, 1981 - Kay Boggs receives a copy of the Nationwide Rivers Inventory in which Darby was included as eligible for Scenic Designation.

June 22, 1984 – Big and Little Darby Creeks declared Scenic by Director Shoemaker under Governor Celeste. Ceremony held at Darby Creek Battelle Park.

November 15, 1984 – First meeting of Darby Creek Advisory Council at the Big Darby Baptist Church. Council is to meet every other month.