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Published: Saturday, 5/10/2008

Grant to help Perrysburg buy land near fort

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Gardner Gardner
AP Enlarge

Perrysburg will get a $200,000 state grant to help pay for six acres below Fort Meigs along the Maumee River, according to two state legislators.

The city bought the property on Rapids Road last week to settle a lawsuit with a developer and ensure that the view of the fort from the river would be preserved.

The purchase price was $400,000.

State Rep. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) and state Sen. Mark Wagoner (R., Ottawa Hills) announced the funding yesterday during a news conference on the site, which has a sweeping view across the river and looks straight up Conant Street in Maumee.

The legislators said the money would come from Ohio's 2009-2010 capital budget, which will be introduced in the General Assembly this month and sets aside $100 million for community projects such as the land purchase by Perrysburg.

Perrysburg will have the funds this summer or fall, Mr. Wagoner said.

Wagoner Wagoner
AP Enlarge

Perrysburg officials and local historic preservationists in attendance expressed satisfaction.

Dr. Richard Ruppert, president of the Ohio Historical Society, which owns Fort Meigs, noted that the Rapids Road parcel was the last piece of private property around the fort.

"It's a very important piece of property," he said.

Perrysburg Administrator John Alexander said the state funding would be "a significant component of the financial package for the acquisition of this historic site."

The city planned to tear down a vacant house on the property, remove an underground heating-oil tank, and deed the property to the state historical society, Mr. Alexander explained.

Perrysburg developer Larry LaPointe paid $200,000 for the property in 2002, intending to build multiple and single-family housing with an imposing view of the river.

Preservationists and fort officials opposed his plan, contending the development would detract from the natural beauty of the view and encroach on a treasured historical site.

When Perrysburg declined to grant the needed residential zoning, Mr. LaPointe sued in Wood County Common Pleas Court, arguing the city denied him economic use of his property. He wanted a judge to order the city to rezone the parcel or buy it from him.

The city settled by doing the latter, although its decision was not contingent on the availability of state funding.

Contact Carl Ryan at:

carlryan@theblade.com

or 419-206-0356.



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