In the fall of 2006, a group of four citizens met with a representative from the Quaker Valley School District (QVSD) in a construction trailer at the Osborne school. They discussed returning a three-acre overgrown site, adjacent to the elementary school, to its naturalized state. The QVSD agreed to sell the property, once owned by the internationally acclaimed author, Mary Roberts Rinehart, for $1.00 to be used for educational and recreational purposes. Within months the Osborne Trail and Park Association (OTPA) was established as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation to develop and manage the park.
The park project caught fire. Local residents, non-profit organizations and businesses engaged as volunteers. QVSD removed invasive trees, supplied materials for the entrance road and laid a water source. A local road contractor created the stone path into the park. A generous neighbor built the amphitheater and stone benches--designing it and moving tons of rock himself. The trail was laid.
OTPA received grants from the Child Health Association of Sewickley, the Garden Club of Allegheny County, the Sewickley Civic Garden Council, the PA Department of Community and Economic Development and private donors.
By early 2008, the OTPA Board named the park the Mary Roberts Rinehart Nature Park. The entrance sign design was inspired by two little girls who delighted in stories of woodland fairies. With a goal of utilizing and showcasing Appalachian native plants, over 100 trees and shrubs and 1000 perennials were planted in 2008. Three hand-hewn picnic tables and benches were purchased. The Park is set to become the best example of naturalized plantings in Western Pennsylvania.
Mary Roberts Rinehart Nature Park is an example of a "perfect storm" of community cooperation. The OTPA's critical mission for the next few years is education about the park and park maintenance--keeping the invasive species at bay. The MRR Nature Park is open to all. ENJOY!