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Metroparks seeks land to expand Pearson

The board of the Toledo Area Metroparks has approved negotiations to try to buy more than 300 acres in Oregon that would nearly double the size of Pearson Park.

Jim Spengler, director of the park system, said that acquiring the property is crucial to expanding Pearson.

“It is really the last chance we'll have of further developing Pearson. We're only in a discussion stage, but we hope that ultimately we'll be able to purchase it,” he said.

Scott Carpenter, a spokesman for the Metroparks, said the land had long been owned by Ola Blodgett of St. Louis.

He said she died earlier this year and the parcel, which has not been formally put on the market, was inherited by three women who have no local ties.

The park system has ordered an appraisal of the land, which is expected to be completed in about 60 days, and is looking for potential partners to help pay for the property if a purchase price is agreed to.

According to the Lucas County auditor's office, the parcel has a market value of about $1.8 million.

The property, which is zoned for agricultural use, is north of Pearson Park and is bounded by Starr Avenue on the south, Seaman Road on the north, Lallendorf Road on the west, and Wynn Road on the east.

A Norfolk and Southern Railroad line runs through the property, most of which is farmed.

Mr. Spengler said that even if the system purchases the land it would probably still be farmed for some time before the Metroparks would have the funds needed to develop the site.

Pearson is the only park in the system that is east of the Maumee River and is one of its most popular parks.

Mr. Carpenter said Pearson has two ponds - one for fishing and the other for paddleboats - tennis courts, and nine ball diamonds.

The park was dedicated in 1934, and much of its development was done by members of the former Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration.

It is named after George Pearson, a reporter for The Blade, who led an effort to have the land purchased by the former Metropolitan Park Board with the provision that it be used for a public park.

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