The way Mayor Jack Ford sees it, the economy and fear of terrorism will keep Toledoans home in greater numbers than usual this summer, and they're going to need the parks.
Park projects account for about $4.5 million of the $32.5 million capital improvements budget for 2003 adopted last night by Toledo City Council - more than twice as much as was allocated last year.
The budget includes $450,000 for improvements to Highland Park near South and Detroit avenues and $900,000 to reorient Promenade Park on the downtown waterfront.
“We recognize Toledoans, ... with the double impact of [Sept. 11, 2001] and the aftermath and the economy, are going to make greater use of their parks, and our priorities demonstrate that,” Mr. Ford said.
The plan includes $150,000 for improvements to the shelterhouse and other areas at Highland Park, and it includes a $300,000 appropriation to install an in-line skating, skateboard, and freestyle bicycle facility at the park.
City Councilman Bob McCloskey, whose district includes part of the Highland Heights neighborhood, said the park improvements will bolster a recently formed Highland Heights Neighborhood Association.
Mr. Ford said the administration will move “fairly aggressively” on a $300,000 plan to extend Promenade Park from the Maumee River to Summit Street, covering and building up the razed Federal Building site. An additional $600,000 is allocated to design and begin construction on the extension of Madison Avenue from Summit Street to Water Street.
Also in the package are:
w $200,000 to resurface the Jermain Park tennis courts.
w $150,000 for improvements to the Savage Park shelterhouse.
w $150,000 for 75 new parking spaces to serve the Ottawa Park amphitheater.
w $400,000 for swimming pool improvements.
The money for park improvements accounts for 13.8 percent of the 2003 capital budget, compared with about 6 percent in the 2002 budget and 7 percent in 2001.
The capital budget includes $2.9 million for continued construction and improvement of the Hoffman Road Landfill, $815,000 for a new ladder truck, and funds for 28.5 miles of residential street resurfacing.
It also includes $1.5 million for cleanup and preparation of the Marina District site on the Maumee River between I-280 and Front Street. The work is expected to cost at least $18.5 million, of which $8 million is budgeted from city funds. The state is providing $6 million and Toledo Edison $4.3 million.
Also last night, council approved the mayor's nomination of Margarita DeLeon to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority board of directors.