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Published: Thursday, 10/21/2004

Marina project calls for removal of railroad bridge

The railroad bridge that welcomes Main Street motorists to East Toledo is to come down next year as part of a $2 million street improvement associated with the Marina District, city planners told a Toledo City Council committee yesterday.

The city has been approved for a $1.6 million federal Highway Administration Grant, which it will match with $600,000 in city funds. Council's economic development committee recommended approval of an ordinance to accept the $1.6 million federal grant at council's next meeting, Nov. 9.

James Phillips, the city's debt management officer, said the federal money will be used to improve Main from the end of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge to Front Street. He said the bridge has to come down to accommodate the widening necessary to meet federal highway standards.

Mr. Phillips said the bridge could be replaced by a pedestrian overpass, depending on the development plan selected for the Marina District.

Some of the money will be used to acquire part of the railroad right of way, known as the Olive Branch line, owned by Norfolk Southern Corp. The line once carried coal to the Toledo Edison Acme power plant.

The city has acquired the former power plant and is carrying out a $21 million environmental cleanup for the Marina District, a planned, mixed-use riverfront development between the King and I-280 bridges.

The cleanup budget includes $6 million from the state's Clean Ohio Fund. All the money has to be spent within a 30-month period, ending in September, 2005, to avoid penalties.

Bill Burkett, senior project manager for the city's environmental consultants, Hull & Associates Inc., said the legislation will allow the city's engineering division to begin design of the roadway improvement, with construction to begin in the spring.

Also yesterday, the committee recommended approval of an ordinance that will waive about $150,000 in inspection permit fees for the $450 million Jeep expansion project at Stickney Avenue and I-75.

John Loftus, special assistant to Mayor Jack Ford, said an independent team hired by DaimlerChrysler AG and certified by the state will conduct the building inspections. Toledo's building inspector will have the right to make spot inspections and review documents.



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