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Port Authority adds $1M in equipment to ODOT maintenance garage

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has agreed to add nearly $1 million in equipment to the maintenance garage it is building for the Ohio Department of Transportation in Monclova Township.

The agency’s board of directors on Thursday approved an amendment to the port’s contract with Rudolph/Libbe to add a back-up generator, 3-ton bridge crane, truck hoists, truck service equipment, and waste-oil heaters to the project being built to replace ODOT’s Lucas County garage.

The additional equipment will boost the project’s cost from $5,137,500 to $6,136,893, an increase of $999,393. The new garage, now being built on 16 acres near Technology Drive and Jerome Road at the western edge of Keystone Business Park, is scheduled to open by July 1.

The port authority is building the project because it can do so faster than the typical state design and procurement process, and ODOT’s lease on its garage site on Sager Road expires in June. The port is to receive a fee equal to 5 percent of the garage’s total construction cost.

Also during its meeting, a port board ad-hoc committee reported its preference to rename what is the Melvin H. Pelfrey Building, and gave other ideas for the seven-story structure the agency bought in June from a subsidiary of the American Maritime Officers union.

The committee proposed The Port Authority Building at One Maritime Plaza as the new name, and suggested renaming the block of Water Street in front of it to something along the lines of Maritime Plaza or Commerce Drive.

James Tuschman, the committee’s chairman, said the committee considered names of various famous Toledoans for naming the building, but opted for neutrality while suggesting the port authority develop an exhibit inside that would explain the port authority’s operations and history, and house a hall of fame for port leaders.

“We do have a history of very distinguished leaders here at the port authority,” Mr. Tuschman said. He cited in particular John McWilliam, a past port president who guided the agency’s expansion to operate Toledo’s two main airports and its entry into economic development, and Paul Block, Jr., the late co-publisher of The Blade, who was the agency’s first board chairman after lobbying Ohio leaders to pass the state law that authorized the creation of port authorities.

Mr. Tuschman said the port authority should be “sensitive to the need to appropriately remove the existing signage” in light of the building’s history and that of maritime labor in Toledo. Mr. Pelfrey, who died in 1989, was a renowned AMO leader and union organizer.

No action was taken on any of the proposals. Mr. Tuschman said the recommendations may be placed on the Dec. 20 agenda.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.

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