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Published: Tuesday, 8/23/2011

Toledo council votes down park improvement funding

BLADE STAFF

Toledo City Council voted Tuesday to delay the allocation of $750,000 in capital improvement funding for a makeover of downtown’s Promenade Park in favor of spending more to repair the city’s ailing streets.

But the move will most likely be vetoed by Mayor Mike Bell, who sees the park improvements as a long-term investment.

Councilmen instead voted 7-4 to allocate an additional $750,000 in capital improvement funds this year for improving Toledo’s much-maligned residential streets, adding to $2.5 millionalready set aside in the budget for that purpose. That would cancel out money the Bell administration wants to use for expanding and redesigning Promenade Park.

“That $750,000 can have a more immediate impact on neighborhoods and residents,” said councilman George Sarantou, who proposed the measure. “It’s important that the infrastructure of our city be attended to.”

But Mayor Bell countered that the additional funds if used for street repair would not stretch very far, estimating the funds could pay for resurfacing about two miles of asphalt. In contrast, planned improvements to Promenade Park would attract more businesses, people and jobs to Toledo, ultimately generating improved tax revenues for the city, enabling it to pay for more street repairs, the mayor countered. He later said he would veto council’s decision to abandon funding for the park project.

“We’re trying to create an environment here that is international, that will bring people to our city,” the mayor told council. “The project at Promenade Park ... will make us money.”

Councilmen Mike Craig, Joe McNamara, Rob Ludeman and Adam Martinezvoted against allocating the park project funds to street repair. Councilman Phillip Copeland was absent.



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