Friday, Apr 20, 2018
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Cullen Park to be closed for dredging

Toledo officials announced Friday the city is set to begin a $475,000 recreational dredging project between Cullen Park in Point Place and the main deep water channel of the Maumee River.

The work, to be paid for with a state grant, will mean closing Cullen Park on Tuesday. The park will remain closed for the rest of the summer.

Recreational dredging differs from navigational dredging. Recreational dredging happens only once in awhile — often, years apart — to remove excessive sediment from channels that small fishing boats and other pleasure watercraft use to ply rivers and gain access to lakes.

It’s not nearly as costly and doesn’t involve nearly as much sediment as navigational dredging.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers typically does not pay for that kind of dredging, only the much more intense navigational dredging, which is done annually in many Great Lakes shipping channels to keep large cargo freighters from getting stuck.

Toledo is the most heavily dredged of all Great Lakes shipping channels. The 800,000 to 1 million cubic yards of sediment dredged from the Toledo shipping channel each summer is 25 percent of that dug up annually throughout the region. It typically costs millions of dollars.

The recreational dredging near Cullen Park is part of a larger project that will require the park’s boat launch to be closed for the rest of the year, starting Tuesday.

The project announced Friday includes $850,000 of improvements to 36-acre park, including a better ramp, docks, parking areas, and roads within the park.

When finished, recreational boaters will have better access to the Maumee and western Lake Erie, as well as a safer and more modern facility from which to come and go.

The park improvements are being covered by an $850,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ watercraft division.

Cullen Park is at the mouth of the Maumee River. It is Ohio’s westernmost Lake Erie public boating access site and the city of Toledo’s only site with direct access to Maumee Bay, the city said.

Cullen Park site was acquired in 1954 and immediately put into service as informal boat launch facility.

The city said it was upgraded to a more permanent facility in 1961.

The latest improvements are the first major ones since 1986.

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