Toledo's long-talked-about expansion and facelift for downtown's Promenade Park is scheduled to begin July 5 and last through the summer and fall, city officials said Monday.
The work will include doubling the size of the park by connecting it with a vacant plot next to it where the Federal Building once stood, removing trees, and creating terraces that run from North Summit Street down to the Maumee River waterfront. Large amounts of soil will be brought in for the project, which includes filling in Water Street, the road that now runs between the park and the Federal Building site.
"People are starting to get excited about it. We're getting another elevation to our downtown," Mayor Mike Bell said Monday. "It's all coming together. It's just a matter of people being a bit patient."
The city will use $389,000 for this first phase of the project, less than a quarter of a $2.2 million state loan set aside for revamping the park, the commissioner of engineering services Robin Whitney said. Toledo-based Schoen Inc. is the contractor selected for the project. The city will draw from the loan to do landscaping at Promenade Park next spring, the commissioner said.
The Bell administration is also seeking council's approval to use additional funds on the site. Council will review requests today to allocate $17,000 from a water infrastructure fund to bring water and electricity lines to the Promenade Park docks.
Mayor Bell and deputy mayor Steve Herwat said Monday they intend for the lines to encourage more boaters to dock downtown and even spend the night there. They decided on the plan after meeting with area yacht clubs over the last year and a half and listening to their suggestions, the mayor said. If council approves the spending, the city would supply the docks with water and electricity before the War of 1812 bicentennial celebrations in August, Mr. Herwat said.
The administration will also ask council to approve spending $45,000 from Toledo's capital improvements fund to pay for a consultant to do landscape designs and grant applications for Promenade Park and other city projects.
Ms. Whitney said the city can't use the $2.2 million loan from Ohio's State Infrastructure Bank for these additional expenditures because they were not considered in the original loan application.
However, councilman D. Michael Collins criticized the consultant plan, arguing such a move is premature because the city does not yet have all the money it needs to complete the entire park project. Ultimately, the city wants to build a stage, a green room and a water feature in the park, as well as add bike paths. That could bring the total cost of the project to between $5 million and $6 million, city officials have said.
"How do you ask for a consultant's report when you have no idea what resources are going to be available in order to accomplish what the consultant may recommend?" Mr. Collins said. "I'm very concerned this could be another consultant's report archived to gather dust and never be seen again."
An unrelated sewer project will also take place in the area, although that won't begin until the first part of the Promenade Park renovation is completed in the fall. Starting around November or December, the city will carry out improvements to its sewer lines around the northeast corner of Madison Street and Summit Street, said George Robinson II, deputy director of the Toledo Department of Public Utilities. The work is expected to result in the closing off of the sidewalk and one lane of traffic outside of KeyBank. However, no roads will be completely shut down, Mr. Robinson said.
"It's going to be minimal interruption," he said. "We're not going to close down the street. There's going to be at least one lane available .... People will still be able to travel in that area."
The city is holding a public meeting Thursday to discuss both projects. The meeting will be n the auditorium of the PNC Bank Building, 405 Madison Ave., at 3 p.m.
Contact Claudia Boyd-Barrett at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6272.