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Wildlife area is step nearer

Miller's Pasture to be draw for area

POSTED: March 1, 2007 5:08 a.m.
It’s a gift to the community that’s been 20 years in the making, and one that began with a promise among two Liberty County siblings, both now deceased, and a New York attorney.
Today that promise is coming closer to being fulfilled, according to attorney Theodore J. Vittoria, who represents the D. C. Miller Trust.
The trust was created, he said, to ensure the roughly 1,200 acres in Allenhurst that comprises Miller Pasture would be preserved “in a natural state in perpetuity and managed in a way that will protect the trees, animals, birds, and plants” that use it.
Standing before a crowd of about 60 people at the site in Allenhurst Feb. 5, Vittoria described two of the goals of the late Dorothy Miller Bloeser and William Henry Miller.
It was their wish, he said, to offer educational opportunities to children and adults, and provide a place where soldiers and their families could go to enjoy the tranquility only Mother Nature offers.
Vittoria said he was thrilled to announce a significant development that is advancing the Millers’ dream — a $275,000 contribution by Dennis A. Waters Jr. and his family to purchase a turn-of-the-century home at the site that will be used as an education and welcome center.
After asking Dennis Waters Jr. for the money, Vittoria said, it took him about 60 seconds to think it over.
“You have it,” the attorney reported Waters as saying.
The addition of the education and welcome center will nicely compliment the acreage  — estimated at six miles deep — where it stands.
“We have a lot of people to thank tonight, but we must certainly begin with Dennis Waters,” Vittoria said. “Dennis demonstrated his strong commitment to this project by personally underwriting virtually all of the purchase price of this wonderful old home ...”
While a sign bearing the new center’s name had been erected several yards away in front of the old home, it was noted the name was to change again. The new sign to be posted soon will include the name of Dennis’ wife, Jan.
“We love Allenhurst. I think it’s a great thing for Allenhurst. It was just Jan’s and my way of giving something back,” Dennis Waters said.
In addition to the Waters family, Vittoria noted several other people who have been instrumental in helping the trust reach its goals.
Among them, Hinesville Mayor Tom Ratcliffe, Probate Court Judge Nancy Aspinwall, Norman Brunswig who is the executive director of the National Audubon Society’s Beidler Forest and Miller Trust attorney Jim Smith.
Vittoria also credited the Georgia Land Trust.
“We hope this community will become actively involved in the support and usage of this wonderful facility and that various community organizations will be supportive as it matures and we continue to grow the endowment in support of our initiatives,” he said.
He noted the governor provided a grant that helped create long-range plans for the property, including trails and access facilities, and improvements to the property for the benefit of wildlife.
The grant also helped enable students from Savannah College of Art and Design to create a survey of historic resources on the property.
Several groups are already using the property for educational purposes, including the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry.
SCAD students are expected to converge on the property Feb. 23 and the Liberty County 4-H has already begun visiting the site.
 

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