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Published: Wednesday, 10/18/2006

Park director makes case for levy renewal

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Shelly Ferris of Toledo strides through Olander Park. The park system is asking voters to renew a 0.5-mill levy next month. Shelly Ferris of Toledo strides through Olander Park. The park system is asking voters to renew a 0.5-mill levy next month.
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A levy renewal for the Olander Park system will highlight local issues for Sylvania area voters during the November election.

In recent years, Sylvania residents have supported the park system's funding requests.

The 0.5-mill levy on the Nov. 7 ballot has been approved by voters five times since 1986. It generates about $900,000 annually.

Gary Madrzykowski, director of the park system, said the current levy was renewed in 2001 with 64 percent of the vote.

Mr. Madrzykowski said no major campaign blitz is planned for the levy issue; some signs will be erected in the Sylvania community and information will be sent to voters.

"We like to think that we prove ourselves day to day," he said, noting the many programs, events, and activities that are sponsored year-round by the park district.

In addition, he pointed out that the Olander Park System, commonly called TOPS, has added two parks and a bike trail in the last few years.

Those projects have brought back more than $1 million in federal and state funding to the Sylvania community, he said.

Of that amount, about $810,000 was received from the state and $200,000 from the federal government for the new Sylvan Prairie Park and the Quarry Ridge Bike Trail. Dedication for the new park and trail is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.

Revenue from the levy, if approved, would help pay for additions to the Sylvan Prairie Park, including $188,000 for construction of the Brint Road entryway and a parking lot there.

Other improvements planned include a lighted sledding hill planned for winter, 2007, and continued work to restore oak forest and wetlands areas. It could cost $500,000 for the wetlands project, Mr. Madrzykowski said, adding that private dollars and grants would be sought to offset that amount.

In the spring of 2007, $202,000 in improvements are slated for Fossil Park, where permanent underground utilities, a small office, and restrooms will be added.

Because the TOPS commissioners decided to seek a renewal levy rather than a replacement levy, park officials are stressing that recent property reappraisals won't have any impact on how much a homeowner would pay if the levy is approved.

"Homeowners will pay at the old rate. Whatever homeowners have been paying, that's what they would continue to pay" for five years, Mr. Madrzykowski said.

If the levy is renewed, park district taxpayers would continue to pay about $25 annually on a $170,000 house.

In addition to the city and township, the park district includes seven Toledo precincts in the Westfield Franklin Park area.

Other ballot issues include two local options in Sylvania Township's Precinct Z for the Sunday sale of wine and mixed beverages at the Meijer store and the Meijer gas station, both at 7240 West Central Ave.



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