For the second time in two years, Perrysburg officials are proposing renovations to Hood Park and downtown Perrysburg, helping to link the area to the Maumee River and moving the statue of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to a highly visible location.
This latest plan lacks the glitz and glamour of the proposal former Perrysburg Mayor Nelson Evan supported last year, and would cost about $24 million less. City officials are presenting a plan to the economic development committee that includes a $2.3 million beautification and renovation from Front Street to Third Street on Louisiana Avenue.
The local landmark, currently situated at the entrance to Hood Park beside Front Street, would be moved to the middle of a roundabout that would replace the stoplight at Louisiana Avenue and Front Street. The roundabout and Second Street intersection would feature brick paving.
Planning and Zoning Administrator Brody Walters said the brick picks up the architectural styles from buildings along Louisiana Avenue.
“We’re proud of our heritage and are taking an afterthought on the side of the road and putting it in the center of attention,” Mayor Mike Olmstead said about the relocation of the statue.
Plans call for landscaping to be installed along the middle of Louisiana Avenue, replacing a median lane. That would allow pedestrians to just cross one lane at a time on Louisiana Avenue. Other accents include lighting on trees and on the statue, which will have small fountains below it and a waterfall.
An open house to discuss the new plan is set for Aug. 7 at the city’s Municipal Building. No time has been set. The economic development committee will consider the plan on Aug. 20. City Council could vote on whether to approve the plan Sept. 20.
John Kevern, council president and economic development committeeman, said the plan would be appropriate for Perrysburg as officials try to attract more activity downtown.
“Our downtown is kind of lackluster right now,” he said. “I think this will enhance Perrysburg just like Levis Commons did.”
He said the economic development committee seems receptive to the plan, but has made no commitment. Mr. Kevern is eager to hear public views.
Mayor Olmstead said he wants construction to begin next spring, with completion by this time next year.
A second phase under consideration proposes renovation of Hood Park, with an elevated area near the river for tables and benches, possibly an area for performances, and overlooks of the river.
Last year, a $26 million riverfront renovation was proposed. It was all but dismissed by council as the city only pursued a riverfront path. The full plan included a theater, zipline course, restaurants, relocating the statue, and more.
Mayor Olmstead thinks this is a more realistic plan in terms of cost, and it would still gain public access to the riverfront.
The new plan takes into consideration information from studies and meetings conducted last year that indicated citizens want more riverfront access and a more active downtown, Mayor Olmstead said.
“We took a different approach, the other plan was very focused on riverfront activities,” he said. “We believe the driver and pull is downtown economic development. They get here, and this gets them to the river.”
Mr. Walters said right now downtown is “good” and “successful,” but this would take “good” to “great.”