The City of Toledo has made good on its word and closed the police department's Northwest District Station in West Toledo despite an outcry from area residents and opposition from city council.
The police department sent out a notice Tuesday stating the station on West Sylvania Avenue has been shuttered as of June 29.
Neighborhood organizers vowed they will continue to lobby the city to reopen the station. John Bibish, an area resident and former Toledo finance official, said a group of citizens is gathering signatures from people opposed to the closure, which they plan to present to the city. They also plan to meet with deputy mayor Steve Herwat on Friday to discuss the situation, he said.
"We're going to be stubborn about this," Mr. Bibish said. "As long as there's sufficient interest where people are willing to make the commitment to do the leg work, I know that as a group we'll see this thing through to the end."
Administration officials maintain the city cannot afford to keep the building open and does not have the staff to justify keeping the station running.
Patrols for West Toledo are dispatched from the Scott Park station, not the Northwest District Station, so closing the building has no impact on how that area is policed, they said.
Neighborhood residents counter that the mere presence of the station deters crime, even if patrols are not dispatched from there.
Relocated from Northwest to the Safety Building downtown and Scott Park station are a special victims unit dealing with sexual assault crimes; a domestic violence unit; the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program; a community service officer, and an officer who manned the front desk. Two Lucas County operations -- an electronic monitoring office that checks on people released on parole and a team that provides support to victims of violence -- also have been moved. County administrator Peter Ujvagi said the monitoring crew is renting space on Hamilton Street. He did not know where the other team has been moved to.
The city had sought to sell the Northwest site to a private developer, but council voted against the sale. Nevertheless, the administration of Mayor Mike Bell has insisted it will continue to search for a buyer.
District councilman Tom Waniewski said he was surprised by the administration's handling of the controversy.
"My surprise came in the tone. ... I wish it would have been a little better," Mr. Waniewski said.
"[Council] came up with a couple of suggestions -- looking for something different, looking for something smaller. I wish the administration would have reciprocated."
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West Toledo residents vow to lobby city to reopen the building.