With hopes of providing “stepping stones” for plants and animals in a rare oak savanna region, the Toledo Area Metroparks has struck a deal with the Lucas County commissioners to buy land in an industrial park.
The commissioners voted yesterday to enter into an agreement that would allow the Metroparks to buy 100 acres at the Westwinds Industrial Park near Toledo Express Airport for about $811,000.
Jim Spengler, executive director of the park system, said the land purchase will help allow plant and wildlife to migrate between Secor and Oak Openings metroparks.
“Certain wildlife stays in one area, but a lot of things need a corridor,” he said.
The land hosts a variety of wildlife and rare plants like the dotted horse mint.
The area will be used as a preserve rather than a park like Wildwood Metropark. Mr. Spengler said a walking trail could be created and a bike trail developed connecting Secor and Oak Opening Metroparks.
The two parcels being sold are north of Airport Highway: a 63-acre parcel west of Trade Road and a 37-acre area south of Geiser Road and north of the Norfolk Southern rail line.
The park system wanted to buy more of the land, but John Alexander, chief of staff for the commissioners, said the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority urged that some of the industrial park area be kept available for development.
Mr. Spengler said it's possible the Metroparks could buy 130 more acres.
“I think there's a good chance we'll be back offering to buy all of it, because I'm not sure there's much demand for development there,” he said.
Commissioner Maggie Thurber said she was pleased not all the land was being sold.
“I think it will provide a wonderful opportunity for businesses to go there, knowing there is park land surrounding it,” she said.