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Published: Saturday, 1/24/2004

Spending bill earmarks $7.5M for Toledo project

BY BLADE STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON - Funding for detailed architectural drawings and site preparation for a new federal courthouse in Toledo was included in a $375 billion spending bill that goes to President Bush for his signature.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) said the courthouse project will receive about $7.5 million for planning, design, and site preparation after the bill becomes law. It was included in the spending bill that passed the Senate Thursday.

“It is the first down payment,” Miss Kaptur said. Estimates put the cost of a new courthouse at $75 million.

Providing funds for the initial work should assure the project receives additional funding for actual construction, she said. Planning, design, and site work should take about a year to complete.

While property on Cherry Street on the north side of the Civic Center Mall long has been considered for the courthouse, Miss Kaptur said she would like other possible mall sites weighed.

Lucas County commissioners have discussed building a jail behind the Toledo Correctional Institution, which opened on East Central Avenue in 2000, to replace the jail on Spielbusch Avenue because of overcrowding.

Demolition of the Spielbusch jail could be an option, commissioners said.

“My preference would be that the planning be mindful of the entire mall and not just a postage-stamp piece of it,” Miss Kaptur said.

Local officials have sought a new courthouse for a decade, Miss Kaptur said.

“We legitimately deserve this courthouse,” she said. “We need modern facilities for our judges.”

The spending bill also includes:

w About $800,000 for the Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation, including its laboratory in Bowling Green, for lab equipment.

w About $600,000 for railroad crossing gates statewide.

w About $10 million to help clean up the Great Lakes and its tributaries, including the Maumee River.



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