The recent cutting down of trees along part of Parkside Boulevard and in the southeast corner of Ottawa Park is in preparation for construction of a sewer line and underground retention tank to eliminate overflows into the Ottawa River, city officials said.
"It turns my stomach to cut down so many healthy trees, especially in a park," said Dennis Garvin, Toledo's director of parks and forestry.
Mr. Garvin said he was pleased the city was able to spare one particular "absolutely majestic old white oak," but declined to count how many other trees had been felled.
Some of the Ottawa Park trees had to be removed merely to allow construction vehicles access to the site where a 3-million-gallon holding tank will be buried, Mr. Garvin said. Those trees' stumps, cut off flush to the ground, will be left in place to allow them to regrow if possible.
"That way, I'm not losing the genetic stock of the park," he said, adding that new trees will be planted elsewhere in the work area after the project's completion.
George Robinson II, deputy director for the Toledo Department of Public Utilities Administration in charge of the Toledo Waterways Initiative, said contractors began mobilizing Wednesday for the sewer project, which includes two contracts and is part of Toledo's much broader campaign to curtail its raw-sewage discharges into local waterways during rainstorms.
HPH Mechanical Contractors holds a $10.7 million contract to install the storage tank and a nearby pumping station. Gleason Construction is to be paid $2.04 million to build the sewer line along Parkside.
Mr. Robinson said a series of meetings was held last year to brief residents along Parkside and nearby in the Westmoreland neighborhood on the sewer construction, which is to be completed by December, 2014. Mr. Robinson said he also will give engineering lectures about the project to students at nearby St. Francis de Sales High School.
The sewer line will require digging up the median on Parkside, but it will be installed under Dorr Street by tunneling, he said.
Construction will not affect the Ottawa Park golf course, but will require detouring a bicycle path that runs through the area where the tank is to be installed.