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Published: Saturday, 8/5/2006

Rangers ride into the Toledo Botanical Garden

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Keep your eyes peeled for the newest addition at the Toledo Botanical Garden because they'll be watching you.

Toledo Area Metroparks rangers will begin patrolling this fall at the park, which was incorporated into the Metroparks system this year under an agreement with the city of Toledo.

The agreement made the 60-acre garden the 12th park in the Metroparks system, and the second Metropark within the city.

The nonprofit Toledo Botanical Garden Board Inc. continues to operate the garden, but now with the help of maintenance allotments from the Metroparks.

Rangers already have been assisting with security this summer at some of the garden's special events. However, beginning Sept. 1, they are scheduled to start regular patrols and enforce Metroparks regulations, Jim Spengler, Metroparks director, said.

The garden and Metroparks have similar rules, so Mr. Spengler said visitors should not notice much change. There also are no plans to lift the garden's current restriction against visitors bringing dogs inside.

"That's not what people go there for," said Scott Carpenter, the Metroparks communication manager.

Garden security currently is handled by Toledo police and a full-time caretaker, Melissa Shaner, the garden's marketing manager, said.

Ms. Shaner said the garden staff welcomes the ranger patrols, although crime or other problems are not issues at the garden, which is locked by gates at night.

"It's a peaceful place," she said. "We can't recall even an incident."

Metroparks rangers also will start patrols Sept. 1 at a recently acquired 28-acre wooded property on the banks of the Maumee River, south of the Anthony Wayne Bridge, which is slated to someday become a riverfront metropark. Patrols are scheduled to begin as well at the Nona France and Blue Creek recreation areas near Whitehouse.

Mr. Spengler said the new patrols will not require any additional staff or vehicles. There are 22 metroparks rangers as well as four supervisors and a director, he said.



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