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Published: Thursday, 9/19/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

TPS considers gardens at 2 sites

BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo Public Schools continues a push to divest itself of surplus property, this time with a proposal to turn two former school sites into gardens.

District administrators presented a plan Wednesday to the TPS Ohio School Facilities Commission committee to lease the former Ryder and Fulton elementary sites to the City of Compassion Community Development Corporation, which plans to “grow fruit and vegetable gardens, which will benefit the community and potentially the students of Toledo Public Schools,” according to the proposal.

The nonprofit agency was founded in 2002 by the Rev. Will James, Jr., pastor of Nebraska Avenue church The Armory.

The sites are among 100 acres of vacant land left from the massive Building for Success program, which rebuilt and renovated dozens of schools while demolishing the old buildings.

Committee members discussed the potential to collaborate with the CDC on educational opportunities with the gardens, and the potential use of some of the fresh produce in school cafeterias.

The district has also considered turning over several former school sites to the city, sold a former school to ProMedica, and has discussed other plans to lease, swap, or sell other property to cut maintenance costs.

A recent performance audit suggested that TPS sell off its large amount of surplus property. While the district hasn’t formally instituted an implementation committee — a point of contention between the Toledo Board of Education and some community members — administrators have begun assessing and implementing some elements of the audit.

The board may create a performance audit committee at Tuesday’s meeting.

In other matters Wednesday, Feed Lucas County Children Inc. asked TPS to donate the former Washington School property to them for relocation purposes. That request will be discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting as well.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.



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