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Published: Thursday, 4/12/2007

Trustee aims to halt Centennial land sale

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

In an effort to keep a portion of Centennial Terrace and Quarry from being sold to a developer, a Sylvania Township trustee is suggesting a community fund-raising campaign to raise money for improvements to the recreational facility.

Trustee Pam Hanley, a Sylvania Area Joint Recreation District board member, said getting the community involved in raising funds would be better than letting a developer turn the property into a commercial strip. She opposes the sale of any portion of Centennial Terrace and Quarry.

In recent months, the district board has been contemplating selling a portion of Centennial Terrace property to a developer to get money to pay for capital improvements. "I feel this is not a good project for the community," Mrs. Hanley said.

Lucas County leases Centennial Terrace and Quarry to the city of Sylvania. In February county commissioners approved a resolution to allow the county administrator to begin talks with the city and the recreation district board to make a transfer of the land to the district possible.

The county's goal is to have Sylvania-area residents participate more in the decision-making, said Lucas County Administrator Michael Beazley.

The Sylvania recreation district board, as the entity that includes the city, the township, and Sylvania Schools, is operating Centennial Terrace and Quarry now. It seems the ideal organization to work through to achieve that objective, he said.

A proposed purchase agreement dated Feb. 22 showed that Quest 3 Development Group LLC of Toledo was offering $1.5 million to the district board for a 1.78-acre portion of Centennial Terrace and Quarry at 5745 Centennial Rd.

Mrs. Hanley said she believes the board is rethinking the land sale. She said she's taken a number of calls from people opposed to the land being commercially developed.

George France, chairman of the Sylania recreation board, told trustees no decisions have been made.

If the property gets into the district's hands, then the board will decide how to proceed.

He said he hopes the property can be secured "into the hands of [the recreation district] and no one else."

Trustee Carol Contrada noted the proposal is not to sell off the entire Centennial Terrace and Quarry. Rather, she said, it is the frontage along Sylvania - Metamora Road.

Profits from the sale would be used to refurbish the dance floor and bandshell, she said.

Trustee DeeDee Liedel said discussions about selling the land have emerged.

One condition mentioned, she said, is that the district could sell off the entire property, providing profits are used for recreational purposes. She doesn't want any portion sold.

A community fund-raising campaign would be a good chance to work cooperatively with the city, Mrs. Contrada said.

She would like to see cost estimates for improvement work at Centennial Terrace and Quarry, a recreational spot for swimming and dancing.

A joint project involving the city, the township, and the recreation district would allow all three to share costs, Mrs. Contrada said.

Such a venture would have to be contingent on no annexation of the land from the township into the city, she said.

Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough said later in the week that he would like to explore all options that might keep the land for public recreation.

He noted that the recreation district was established 20 years ago to finance recreational and operational needs.

It's been several years since the district asked voters for levy support, the mayor said.

The community could do a fund-raising campaign for Centennial Terrace, but a levy might be more appropriate, the mayor said, noting that a levy is how the district "finances Pacesetter Park and the wonderful recreation programs in the Sylvania community."

If the county transfers the property to the district, the city would work during the transition to keep the recreational facility open until the district takes over, he said.



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