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Published: Friday, 4/16/2004

City takes reins of ship museum, volleyball courts

The city of Toledo yesterday took control of the SS Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship and The Beach volleyball courts from the nonprofit group that has run them for years.

Walter Edelen, president of International Park of Greater Toledo, Inc., said his group would not agree to a city demand for 10 percent of the gross receipts of the two operations.

Edward Goyette, director of the Boyer museum ship, predicted no change for visitors. He said the ship always received capital improvements money from the city, which owns it.

"It should be really transparent," Mr. Goyette said. "The ship pretty much pays for itself. The not-for-profit organization that operated it did not want to agree to the terms of the lease agreement."

City Law Director Barb Herring said the lease had been continued month-to-month for some time. She said the parks department gave a 30-day notice of termination that ended yesterday.

Ms. Herring said the parks department will run the volleyball court and schedule the leagues. Parks Director Kattie Bond was not available for comment yesterday.

The Boyer, built in 1911, was a bulk freighter on the Great Lakes. It opened as a floating museum in 1987.

The Beach, a six-court volleyball complex, opened in International Park next to The Docks in 1995. The previous manager, Mike Snyder, said he was told that as an employee of the city's water reclamation plant, he is barred from doing business with the city as a contractor.

Mr. Edelen said his organization will continue to manage the International Festival of Lights display during the Christmas season.

The nonprofit organization, which is separate from the International Park Advisory Board, ran the Tall Ships event last year. The event drew fewer visitors than expected and was criticized for management problems, including hiring too many off-duty police officers as security.

Mr. Edelen said his organization recently repaid the city the $35,000 owed from that event.

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