Bishop Woods, a wooded area on Miami University’s campus, has fallen into disrepair with broken sidewalks and dead, diseased vegetation. Many invasive species have overgrown and choked out the original native plants. All of this comes as the result of a series of questionable choices regarding how this area should have been maintained. In the past, it was subject to near-destruction when campus administration decided to mow all of the undergrowth and then it was later neglected in the wake of a budgetary crisis. As such, the woods are now the unfortunate product of neglect and mismanagement. It is a place where invasive species were allowed to grow unchecked and sidewalks were left to disintegrate.
With the recent addition of the Armstrong Student Center and the widening of sidewalks on Patterson Avenue, the Bishop Woods paths have become increasingly well-traveled.
Vincent Cirrito, MU landscape architect, has been working on a restoration project for the past three years. His plans for renovation intend to address the need for a more safe and walkable environment, Cirrito said. Eco-efficient lighting will be installed along the new pathways which will light the way for pedestrians at night and then dim by 50% when movement is not detected. The paths themselves will be laid out in manner conducive to the majority flow of foot traffic. The new planting is slated to include 40 native species which will be reintroduced to the area and placed in such a way that there is an area of visual interest year-round.
New growth and renovation in the Bishop Woods will allow greater and more frequent use of the space. A team of biologists and other authorities are working closely to ensure that the project is ecologically sound as well. The revitalizations hope to return the natural beauty of the historic site so that students and faculty can once again walk safely in the midst of healthy, vibrant trees and flowers.
Cirrito said his goal for this project was to, “create those unique spaces that people want to sit down in.”
By activating the natural beauty of this place once again there is a hope that the Bishop Woods will become a new area for socializing completely separate from the hard lines and monotonous quadrangles of the university—a new oasis of green in the red brick grind of every day.
You can read the architects’ plans and view the layout by clicking on the link below: