Corner community blends city life, Adams Township history

Democrats often win middle-class area built in 1960s, ’70s

  • Precinct-Profile-5-19-2014

  • Editor's Note: This version corrects the countywide numbers for President Obama and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur in the 2012 election.

    Thyer Park in Precinct 5K includes a creek with a sandy bottom that has seen quite a few bare feet over the years. It makes a picturesque pass through the park, but also gets blamed for wet basements.
    Thyer Park in Precinct 5K includes a creek with a sandy bottom that has seen quite a few bare feet over the years. It makes a picturesque pass through the park, but also gets blamed for wet basements.

    This is one in an occasional series profiling precinct voting districts in our region.

    Precinct 5K has always been in the corner of something. When it was part of Adams Township, the community occupied the northwest corner, backing up to Sylvania and Springfield townships.

    Today, the community is part of Toledo — no longer one of farms and fields but of middle-class homes — and still an outpost at the southwest fringe of the city.

    A community of mostly single-family homes developed over the last 50 years, the precinct is part of Toledo Ward 5, broadly known as Reynolds Corners, abutting I-475, Sylvania Township, Springfield Township, and the village of Ottawa Hills. The precinct is bounded on the south and east by Bancroft Street and Holland-Sylvania Road.

    Among the most long-time residents are Rosella Eppink, 79, and her next-door neighbor, Sue Richardson, 73, on Rose Hill Drive. Mrs. Eppink and her late husband, Donald, built their home and Mrs. Richardson’s mother and father built her home, both in 1962, when it was still Adams Township.

    “There was like only three houses here,” Mrs. Eppink recalled. “We loved Adams Township.” Mr. and Mrs. Eppink had five children when they moved in, and added four more.

    Within a few years, all of the remainder of Adams Township was annexed into Toledo, and the schools became part of Toledo Public Schools.

    “When they annexed into the city everything went kaput,” Mrs. Eppink said.

    Over the years, Mrs. Eppink said she got to know everybody on the street, often through the mothers club at Hawkins School.

    She made it her business to call police or her councilman to address neighborhood problems, such as alleged drug use in Thyer Park, or multifamily developments they didn’t want.

    “We had a lot of drugs at our parks, and gangs, and we got that cleaned up,” Mrs. Eppink said. “I called the cops.”

    In fact, she said, city officials used to waste no time addressing the concerns of Orchard Hills, and still are responsive.

    “Scott Park [district police station] is really good to us,” she said.

    It would not be unusual on a nice day to see Mrs. Eppink and Mrs. Richardson talking on the sidewalk between their ranch houses.

    Neighborhoods in the precinct include Orchard Hills, which was developed in the 1960s; Penn Woods, developed in the late 1970s; Edgebrook, a new “villas” subdivision still with vacant lots for sale, and Bancroft Plains, which has homes built from 1920 into the 1960s.

    The community open space is Thyer Park, with a baseball diamond with chainlink fence and team benches, a creek bridge, picnic tables, and a concrete basketball court.

    The creek makes a picturesque pass through Thyer Park, with a flat sandy bottom that has undoubtedly seen many bare feet. Ducks paddle in the clear water.

    The precinct has a U.S. Post Office, Kroger grocery, and a gas station.

    Politically, voters supported President Obama’s re-election in 2012 over Republican Mitt Romney by 64.3 percent, slightly less than the 64.8 percent vote for Mr. Obama countywide.

    In the 2012 vote for 9th Congressional District, voters countywide went overwhelmingly for Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur by 83 percent to 15 percent for Republican Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher.

    In Precinct 5k Mr. Wurzelbacher won 22 percent of the vote to Miss Kaptur’s 75 percent. The remaining votes went to Libertarian Sean Stipe.


    Both Mr. Wurzelbacher and Miss Kaptur live close to the precinct — Mr. Wurzelbacher three miles away in Springfield Township and Miss Kaptur less than two miles away in the same 5th Ward.

    The precinct’s 957 voters had a turnout average of 75 percent in 2012 — better than the average countywide turnout of 68 percent.

    The precinct is in a Community Reinvestment Area, under which new residential construction qualifies for a property tax abatement, though owners must pay the property tax on land, and any special assessments.

    One of the oldest homes is a 1920 two-story house owned by Vicky and James Varner at 2246 Vaness Dr., who live there with their 18-month-old granddaughter Emma.

    Mrs. Varner sees a small dog venturing into the front yard, which she recognizes as the neighbor’s. A quick phone call, and out drives the neighbor looking for her dog.

    “We are a really good neighborhood,” Mrs. Varner said.

    The only real issue that they have is with the creek.

    “Every now and then it gets backed up,” Mrs. Varner said.

    That’s when two sump pumps in their basement come in handy.

    Adjacent to the Varners’ tree-shaded neighborhood is the newer neighborhood where Joseph and Teresa Manley live on Luddington Drive. Built in 1979, the home is for sale because the Manleys are moving to San Antonio where Mr. Manley hopes to benefit from the oil industry. They own a small fleet of trucks which deliver parts for the auto industry.


    Politically, he’s in the minority in the neighborhood, not being a fan of the Obama Administration.

    “Unless your goal is to destroy the United States of America I don’t see how you can like this administration,” said Mr. Manley, who spent 11 years in the Army.

    He said he likes to talk about politics, but finds it’s not very productive.

    “You’re either preaching to the choir or the enemy,” he said, although he expects to find more people of his political persuasion in Texas.

    Among those who have stepped up to be neighborhood volunteers is Patricia Schissler, who calls herself Gladys Kravitz, after the nosy neighbor in the Bewitched TV series.

    “Come drive down our streets. It’s worse than the coal mine ride at Cedar Point,” Ms. Schissler said.

    Because of the neighborhood’s location on the edge of the city, “the police department has told us we’re the last one to get service, and we’re not the type of neighborhood that needs constant service.”

    She said many people can be seen renovating their homes.

    Politics seems to run in her veins.

    Her grandfather, Alexander Barchick, was a Republican precinct captain when he lived on Belmar Avenue near Laskey and Jackman roads.

    Her cousin is William Reineke, Jr., the Tiffin businessman who just won a write-in campaign for the Republican nomination for Ohio House District 88 in Sandusky and Seneca counties.

    “We’re very proud of him,” Ms. Schissler said.

    Precinct 5K is in Toledo Council District 2, represented by Democrat Matt Cherry, who was elected May 6.

    Contact Tom Troy: or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.