Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016
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$1M in U.S., city grants to construct wetlands

Silver Creek watershed, Cullen Park to benefit

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Toledo’s Cullen Park and Silver Creek watershed will get a combined $1 million investment from the city and federal government to pay for a new wetlands and other improvements, Mayor D. Michael Collins and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) announced Wednesday.

The city was awarded a $500,000 federal grant to be split between the two sites. The city must match it dollar for dollar to receive the money, Miss Kaptur said. The city contribution would come from the storm water utility fund if council approves matching the grant.

“One of the awards that was made through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through the Environmental Protection Agency is a $500,000 grant that will be matched by the city of Toledo — $1 million — that will be spent here to create a wetland,” Miss Kaptur said at Cullen Park.

The money will be used for water management improvements, including wetlands and vernal pools, which are seasonal wetlands.

“It’s important, because we have fresh water in this region as the state of California is becoming a desert,” she said. “One of our challenges is to make sure our river and lake become cleaner over time. One of the ways we do that is to clean the runoff water from places like this parking lot before it enters the river and into the lake.”

Mayor Collins said the projects would be part of his campaign promise to change neighborhoods, a concept he dubbed Tidy Towns, taken from a moniker he said is used in Ireland.

“The city of Toledo is not going to be managed for decline,” the mayor said. “[That] has been far too long our experience. … This is the way we change it.”

Of the federal money, $200,000 would go toward the Silver Creek area and $300,000 for the park. The city match would be the same.

The infrastructure improvements near Silver Creek include retrofitting ½ mile of uncurbed streets with roadside bioswales and rain gardens to provide drainage improvements, improve water quality, and store up to 80,000 gallons of water during flood conditions.

“This area does suffer from flooding and standing water issues,” said Tim Murphy, the city’s environmental services commissioner. “[The funding ] will address the water quantity issues and improve the water quality naturally over time.”

Up to four vernal pools, 2,500 square feet of pervious pavement, 2,000 square feet of vegetative sand filter strips, and gravel path infiltration areas will be added to Cullen Park, Mr. Murphy said.

Councilman Lindsay Webb, whose district en-compasses both of the sites, said she was pleased to see the city and federal government addressing storm water-management problems and water quality in the area.

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

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