A proposal to renovate Perrysburg's riverfront includes moving the statue of Commodore Perry down the slope between Front Street and the Maumee River to offer a better view of the river.
The Perrysburg Recreation Committee on Monday recommended building a multiuse path connecting Hood Park to Orleans Park, the first phase of a proposed master plan for developing the riverfront.
City Council is scheduled to take up the committee's recommendation when it meets at 6:30 p.m. today in council chambers.
Before voting Monday, the committee heard numerous opinions for and against the project, which is designed to improve public access to the Maumee River.
Resident Becky Williams, who said she favored the plan, said not all parts of the proposal must be done at once.
“Me and my family travel to the Maumee waterfront and spend our money there. Why not keep it in our town?” resident Rachel Sowers said. “We can make it accessible to all the community members.”
But several West Front Street homeowners, whose riverfront properties are crossed by a trail to be improved, spoke against the project. The trail is a public right-of-way, but the land on either side is privately owned, encompassing about a dozen landowners.
(*note: This is the original plan, before changes from this meeting.)
Riverfront Questions and Answers.
“Everyone wants access to the riverfront on the trail through our backyard. But that does not give you access; that is privately owned,” Katrina Holland said. “I'm not sure the public knows that.”
Charles Pfleghaar, who lives on West Front, said his main fear is that project-related earth moving could destabilize a slope below his home and damage its foundation.
“The first thing we would do is hire an engineer team to look at it,” Todd Grayson, a City Council member, responded. “If the engineers say we should avoid the hill because it will hurt Charles' property, then I'm not going to vote for that.”
OBJECT0c49a710-9df9-4ed1-923d-e8c26de3c189Diane Bishop, a resident and former city employee, asked the committee to look at the plan's environmental impact. She described the wildlife along the river that could be affected, such as bald eagles, white herons, and mussels found just off shore.
A grant from the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments — $629,000 that the city is slated to receive in 2019 — will pay for 80 percent of the cost of the multipurpose path.
Some residents said they don't want the city to use that grant money, because its terms require making the path a hard surface and 10 feet wide for emergency vehicles, which critics derided as an asphalt “road.”
City Councilman Joe Lawless said with a new mayor coming and the possibility of three new councilmen next year, the plan likely will get looked at again.
However, for now, the committee wants to handle only the first phase, which would be the path and possibly parking at Orleans Park.
Once the path is completed, council can look into other projects. The entire plan would cost $26 million, which would include an ice rink, a theater, and relocating the Commodore Perry statue. It would be moved down the slope between Front Street and the Maumee River.