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Published: Wednesday, 3/9/2005

Sylvania: Residents to get say on state of parks

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Residents of Sylvania's Olander Park System district will be asked their opinions this summer on the parks and what to name the system's newest park.

A questionnaire will be mailed asking what they think of the system and what changes they would like to see.

The survey also will ask for suggestions for a name for the system's new parkland east of Mitchaw Road between Brint Road and Sylvania Avenue.

A similar survey was sent to 15,000 addresses in the park district about five years ago, according to Gary Madrzykowski, Olander director.

Park commissioners recently agreed that it was time to again survey residents.

Mr. Madrzykowski said results of the earlier survey guided the system in establishing nature programs and in acquiring new land for parks.

"Those were the two things which about two-thirds of the respondents said they wanted us to do,'' he said.

He noted that he was skeptical about establishing more nature programs, because the Metropolitan Park District of the Toledo Area has extensive offerings, "but they were right.

"We now have about 7,000 people who annually take part in our programs,'' he noted.

Acquiring the lease to operate Fossil Park in Sylvania Township in some ways satisfied both of the citizens' requests because the use of the land for fossil hunting is something of a self-directed nature program.

The survey, which is expected to be in an issue of the system's The Pathfinder publication, will ask, among other things, if Olander should continue its swimming program.

The number of swimmers and revenue has dropped for the last three years, and although weather is a factor, Olander officials have pointed to the number of alternatives in the Sylvania area. Many teenagers go to Centennial Terrace and Quarry for swimming and younger children, often with parents, go to the large outdoor pool at the Jewish Community Center.

The park system has lost about $23,000 over the last three years on its swimming operation.

Officials have considered reducing the size of the swimming area if it could be done so fewer lifeguards are needed, or to replace it with a sprayground, where children could have fun with water apparatus, but might not require lifeguards.

The questionnaire is not yet completed, but Mr. Madrzykowski said it will likely ask opinions about what the public would like to see done with the King Road Landfill, what forms of recreation they would like to see at park sites, and whether the area should have expanded bicycle trails.

He said he is looking forward to the response, "because this won't be something that's put on a shelf."



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