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Published: Wednesday, 9/1/2010

Toledo City Council accepts site of South Toledo Y

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo City Council Tuesday night accepted the YMCA of Greater Toledo's property at Woodsdale Park as a gift once the building is razed, and a local group proposed using the property as a dog park.

Council voted 10-1 to accept the property. Council President Wilma Brown did not attend the meeting, and Councilman Michael Ashford, a YMCA vice president of urban affairs, abstained.

Councilman Rob Ludeman said he was contacted by a group called Toledo Unleashed, which was behind funding the new dog park in Ottawa Park.

"I met with some folks who are strong members of rescue groups who came up with the idea of taking the four acres of the YMCA site and investigating putting a dog park there," Mr. Ludeman said. "It would not cost the city anything because Toledo Unleashed would raise the money and the fencing could be far enough away from any [nearby] homes."

Jen Sorgenfrei, spokesman for Mayor Mike Bell, said the administration is willing to discuss the dog park.

"We are willing to look into the option," she said. "There is a neighborhood meeting scheduled next week, and we will not make a decision until we meet with the neighbors."

Councilman D. Michael Collins, whose district includes the now-closed YMCA building, said he is "not sold that there should be a dog park there."

Mr. Collins said he also wants to be certain the city is not responsible for any of the former YMCA building demolition.

Todd Tibbits, YMCA president and chief executive officer, told council last week that the building and the parking lot should be demolished by the end of the year.

In June, YMCA officials announced that the 55-year-old building will be torn down and maintained as green space after a failed grass-roots campaign last year to save the structure.

Razing of the building will cost the Y about $170,000, which includes about $30,000 to remove asbestos, Mr. Tibbits said.

Toledo Unleashed raised the funds for Toledo's first so-called dog park at Ottawa Park in West Toledo, where canines could run without being leashed.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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