Toledo City Council approved $750,000 in expenditures for city park improvements Tuesday, including a new $150,000 shelter at a Point Place park for which an individual has offered to cover a portion of the cost.
The donor, whose name was not divulged during council’s discussion of the ordinance, has agreed to reimburse the city $60,000 when the new Harry Kessler Park shelter house is complete, according to the legislation. The shelter is to include restrooms and storage space. In response to council questions, city General Counsel Paul Syring said a signed contract with the donor will be executed.
Councilman Lindsay Webb, whose District 6 includes the park, said the man lives in the area and his children play at the park. She said he has offered to cover the remaining $90,000 if the city uses him as a model to encourage other private sponsors for park improvements.
In addition to the shelter house at Kessler park on Ottawa River Road, the legislation will provide $300,000 for playground redevelopment at Burnett Park, in East Toledo; Galliers Park, in the Central City, and Thyer Park in West Toledo — and if funds are available at Copland Park in South Toledo. The money also would pay for replacement slides, swings, and assorted hardware for damaged parks citywide.
A related ordinance provides $300,000 for general park improvements, including repair and replacement of damaged park assets such as benches, picnic tables, grills, walkways, and picnic shelters.
Councilman Tom Waniewski cast a no vote on the ordinance for general park improvements because he said he didn’t have a detailed list from the city explaining how and where the money would be used. He said council authorized $225,000 last year, of which only $69,000 was spent — part of that on office chairs. It also paid for replacement parts for playground equipment, fencing and gates, and pavement.
Bill Franklin, director of the Department of Public Service, said the money is the amount the city expects to need to make emergency repairs.
“We would like to have something more than just an emergency program but we don’t have the [capital improvements] dollars,” Mr. Franklin said.
An ordinance to establish a collaboration with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to create a demonstration site for alternative uses of dredged river sediment was held up for a hearing to be scheduled later for community input. The Great Lakes Dredged Materials Center of Innovation would be located on Riverside Park, on North Summit Street.