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Published: Wednesday, 5/21/2014 - Updated: 10 months ago

Toledo street plans draw critics

Residents object; council waits for a hearing


With the condition of Toledo’s streets irking many residents, Toledo City Council Tuesday pushed off voting on the citywide capital improvements budget so it could hold a public hearing on the issue Thursday.

At-large Councilman Steven Steel asked for the city’s criteria to repave streets and a list of streets that missed the Mayor D. Michael Collins’ administration list for repaving this year.

“Presumably there is a graded list,” Mr. Steel said. “There is a cutoff list somewhere, and I would just like to verify what they are saying.”

The Collins administration has proposed rebuilding or repaving 39.15 miles of streets across the city at a total cost of $35.2 million, including $12 million in city capital-improvement funds and $23 million in state and federal grants that generally can be used only for major streets.

The roadway construction projects this year include replacing a water main and rebuilding Green Valley Drive from Glendale Avenue to Heatherdowns Boulevard. Shortly after council’s regular meeting downtown Tuesday night, about 40 South Toledo residents at St. Patrick of Heatherdowns criticized the city’s plan to install sidewalks on the west side of Green Valley.

Doug Stephens, the city’s commissioner of engineering services, said sidewalks would be installed for safety reasons because the roadway gets about 1,200 vehicles per day.

Many residents opposed the proposal, chiefly because they do not want to remove snow and ice from the new sidewalks.

Dr. Edward Usko, of 2210 Green Valley, shouted at city officials and over his neighbors, saying the sidewalks and widening of Green Valley would reduce his property value.

“I won’t be able to sell my house when you get done with this,” he said. “Why don’t you put the sidewalk in my living room? That would be easier.”

District 2 Councilmen Matt Cherry, who represents the area, and at-large Councilman Larry Sykes, attended and told residents they would take their concerns into consideration.

Although most opposed the sidewalks, three people spoke in favor.

“I applaud getting a new waterline and our street is terrible,” said Becky Huebner, who also lives on the street. “I can't believe people are complaining. I am not crazy about sidewalks, but there are people in wheelchairs on Green Valley who will use the sidewalks.”

In other business Tuesday, council voted 11-0 to accept a $1.3 million low-interest loan and 1.8 million in grant money from the Ohio Public Works Commission for seven roadway projects and one bridge project. Councilman Tom Waniewski, who is on the commission, abstained.

Council voted 12-0 to amend the municipal code, making it a crime to discriminate against anyone seeking housing based on military status.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.

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