Ottawa will reimburse Nell’s Woodland $470,000 for road

Nells said it invested more than $10 million into the property

The Ottawa City Council passed an agreement Tuesday with Nell’s Woodland Foundation that’s outlined similarly to the agreement the city has with Dayton Bluffs Preserve.

Mayor Dan Aussem said this agreement leaves Nell’s Woodland Foundation responsible for cleanup and maintenance of its 56-acre nature preserve located at 2301 Columbus St., but the city can clean up trees.

The agreement also includes the city reimbursing Nell’s Woodland Foundation for $470,000 for a road project that needed completed before the foundation could begin construction on the 12,420 square foot facility at the 2301 Columbus St. property.

“They’re investing around $10 million and typically when a developer comes in and invests that kind of money, the city provides some type of payment,” Aussem said. “We didn’t have the money at the time to build the road and the owner asked if he could build it and we could reimburse them.”

Aussem said Nell’s Woodland is response for a section of road beyond the gate.

The Nell’s Woodland Foundation now has a large building sitting on the property that will be home to programming and resources supporting stewardship in ecology, wellness and the arts.

Aussem said the original investment in the project was to be about $10 million but the owners have indicated in conversations that it’s gone well beyond that amount.

The foundation’s website,, still lists an unconfirmed event coming to the property in 2022 but other than that, an official opening date is not known. Aussem said he expects residents soon will be able to visit and explore the grounds.