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Plans to take over parking garages moves step closer with Port Authority approval of $16 million in bonds

Vistula-Parking-Garage

Vistula Garage is located at Summit and Cherry streets and is linked by underground tunnel to One Seagate and the city walk system. Entry to Vistula is on Superior Street at Orange.

THE BLADE/LISA DUTTON
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Plans for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to take over Toledo’s parking garages and on-street meter operations took a step forward Thursday morning when the port’s board of directors approved a $16 million bond issue to finance buying the three garages.

Toledo City Council still must approve the plan, which involves the Vistula, Port Lawrence, and Superior garages in downtown Toledo. Councilman Mike Craig, who attended the port board meeting, said he expects a first reading of council on Tuesday.

“We expect this to be done over the next couple of months,” said Thomas Winston, the port authority’s finance director.

The three garages are expected to fetch about $15 million for the deficit-ridden city, which has been desperate to sell assets to raise cash for its operations. Port officials believe they can improve parking operations to create a funding source for garage improvements and other parking-related projects while maintaining local control of parking rates in Toledo.

The plan does not include buying the city’s parking meters, only managing them, but Mr. Winston said the installation of more “smart meters” that accept credit cards as well as cash is likely down the road. Such meters would be more convenient for many customers and also reduce both the cost of handling coins and theft issues with traditional meters.

MAP: Downtown parking

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