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Published: Wednesday, 3/6/2013

Toledo City Council sets aside funds for plant expansion

$700,000 earmarked to buy houses in way of proposal

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo City Council has approved setting aside $700,000 to buy property in East Toledo for a mandated expansion of the city’s drinking water treatment plant.

Council voted 11-0 Tuesday to dedicate the money from the city’s water-bond fund. Councilman Lindsay Webb was not present.

Dave Leffler, Toledo’s commissioner of plant operations, said the city sent 28 homeowners letters to solicit their interest in selling.

“Right now it is a willing-buyer, willing-seller,” he said. “I don’t need to buy any right now. We are looking out into the future and realizing it would be beneficial if we could buy some of those houses.”

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, after a survey of the water treatment plant, ordered multiple projects to address the “deteriorated condition of the existing water system,” according to city records.

“The current physical footprint of the property where the water treatment plant is located does not allow sufficient room for the needed expansion to address some of these issues,” the legislation said. “In order to construct the necessary facility expansion and associated improvements, the city will need to acquire certain properties located adjacent to the current facilities.”

Mr. Leffler said the plant needs a new transformer and pole barn to be sited where houses are now. He would not rule out the use of eminent domain.

The Collins Park Water Treatment Plant was built as an 80 million-gallon-per-day plant in 1942 with a 40 million-gallon-per-day expansion in 1956. Council in December approved $2.8 million for design and other costs of a new 40-million gallon treatment unit for the plant, which will include a flocculation basin and a sedimentation basin. That expansion would occur on vacant land.

In other business, council voted 7-4 to authorize Mayor Mike Bell to hire a dockmaster to run the Toledo Skyway Marina in East Toledo at the Marina District. Councilmen Paula Hicks-Hudson, Shaun Enright, Tyrone Riley, and Steven Steel voted no. Ms. Hicks-Hudson, council's president, said she voted no because the legislation was not specific about who would run the facility.

“We don’t know what the actual terms of the agreement would be,” she said.

People docked vessels on a first-come, first-served basis at the city's $6.3 million marina for free for the last three seasons. That included water and electricity hookups.

The marina, formerly the Glass City Municipal Marina, opened in June, 2008. It shares its quarters with a marine passenger terminal developed by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which is to become the site of the Great Lakes Maritime Museum.

Council also voted 11-0 to:

● Spend $150,000 for a “vertical expansion” of the Hoffman Road Landfill. The money will pay for improvements needed to obtain a permit to install from the Ohio EPA, which is necessary for the expansion.

● Spend $16,000 to buy property at 713 Bush St. to expand Fire Station No. 3. The city has committed $1.7 million to renovate the city’s oldest fire house. The city in September shuttered the 85-year-old building at 701 Bush St. because of cracks in the floor of the fire engine bay and plans to repair the main station house and add space for fire equipment.



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