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Published: Thursday, 3/22/2001

Residents urge Maumee to keep sports complex

Building an ice arena for high school hockey at the Lucas County Recreation Center and using some of the land at the county-owned facility for soccer fields are among the suggestions that residents offered last night to Maumee officials at a town hall meeting.

About 300 people attended the meeting in Gateway Middle School, sponsored by city council to discuss issues affecting the community and gather suggestions and ideas from residents for future projects.

Karen Ash, of Colwell Street, said she would like to see the city work with the schools to use the Maumee Indoor Theater at Anthony Wayne Trail and Conant Street for school plays and other productions, incorporating the activities into the school's curriculum.

The city bought the theater in August with the intention of renovating the Art Moderne structure and using it as an entertainment venue. The city has received about $1 million in grants to complete the estimated $4.6 million project.

Robert Siebenaller of Northfield Drive urged the mayor and council to not allow housing to be built on the recreation center property.

“If you do, my house will go up for sale the next day. We want that to stay as a recreation area,” Mr. Siebenaller said. “We don't want any more housing.”

The recreation center site will be largely empty soon. The Toledo Mud Hens will be leaving after their ball park in downtown Toledo is completed next year. The Lucas County Agricultural Society, which puts on the annual county fair, is looking for a new location.

Some residents suggested renovating a building into an ice arena for high school hockey and figure skating and using some of the 130 acres for soccer fields.

Others called for keeping the tennis courts.

“We must all work that this county recreation center stays right what it is,” said Robert Hoag, of North Masters Court.

Councilman Kevin Olman said county commissioners have told consultants hired to study future uses for the recreation center to maintain its recreational atmosphere.

“It will be recreation based,” he said. “It will have an overall flavor of recreation.”

A proposal to build a two-story megamall near U.S. 23/I-475 and U.S. 24 generated concerns about traffic congestion. Developers plan to begin building the 1.2 million-square-foot mall this summer.

“We have enough traffic now. I have not heard anything about it being near the Battle of Fallen Timbers site. I haven't heard anyone say they want it,” said Pauline Laurie of East Harrison Street.

Mayor Tim Wagener said the city does not have control over zoning for the mall property, but council will oversee the planning of infrastructure needed for the project. “We will do everything to control what we can control,” Mayor Wagener said.

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