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Bell vetos removing pool pillars

Mayor says demolition money better used for playgrounds gear

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    CTY water19p Toledo Mayor Mike Bell answers a question from council member Joe McNamara on the public safety aspects of four inch water mains. The Toledo City Council discusses an increase to water rates during the meeting in Toledo, Ohio on April 18, 2013. The Blade/Jetta Fraser

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For the second time this week, Mayor Mike Bell used his veto power to overturn something a majority of Toledo City Council authorized.



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Council, at the urging of District 1 Councilman Tyrone Riley, approved $62,000 to remove a series of brick pillars that surround the Roosevelt Pool at Smith Park in central Toledo.

Council voted 8-4 to spend the money to remove the structures. Councilmen Mike Craig, Joe McNamara, and Tom Waniewski voted against it.

Mr. Riley said the pillars, once part of an enclosure at the site, are unsightly and dangerous.

Mayor Bell believed otherwise.

“This is a frivolous and unneeded expenditure from the parkland replacement fund, a fund with limited assets that could be used in a much more productive manner,” the mayor wrote in a letter to council.

Mr. Bell said no one has complained about the pillars, they are structurally sound, and the money could instead be used to buy playground equipment.

Mr. Craig said the money could be better spent on athletic programs that have been lacking in the city.

Also, the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo's Young Artists at Work program has identified the pillars for murals this summer.

The Bell administration plans to open Roosevelt Pool, five others, and the splash pad at Savage Park this summer — the same aquatic facilities that were operated last year. The entire operations budget for pools has not been requested by the Bell administration.

Other pools to be opened are Wilson, Navarre, Jamie Farr, Pickford, and Willys. They are usually opened in mid-June, spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei said.

The pools ran over budget last year.

In October, council approved $184,000 from the general fund to pay for unbudgeted staffing and maintenance.

The city charges a $1 admission for children under age 12 and $2 for those 13 and older. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.

Roosevelt Pool is in central Toledo’s Smith Park; Willys Park, 1375 Hillcrest Ave., is in the west end; Jamie Farr, 2200 Summit St., is in the north end; Pickford, 3000 Medford Drive, is in South Toledo; Wilson, 3252 Otto St., is near Stickney and East Central avenues; and Navarre, 1001 White St., is on the east side.

The Savage Splash Pad, 645 Vance St., is off Nebraska Avenue.

Earlier this week, the mayor vetoed council's changes to the city's one-year action plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development concerning the allocation of Community Development Block Grants funding.

Council and the mayor reached a tentative compromise Thursday that restored funding for some homeless shelters to 2012 levels by using money from the general fund.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.

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