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Perrysburg officials vote to move funds for park repairs

Demolished boat club affects plans

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    A Perrysburg city councilman links the demolition of the Water Works building, the former home of the Perrysburg Boat Club in January, 2016, to plans for Riverside Park.

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    Matuszak

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The Perrysburg Boat Club’s former home was demolished more than a year ago, but actions surrounding the structurally unsound building’s destruction continue to influence plans for the waterfront.

Perrysburg’s Finance and Economic Development committee voted 2-1 Thursday to recommend placing $500,000 allocated for improvements to Hood Park back into the general fund.

The committee’s chairman, James Matuszak, was the lone vote against the recommendation. He wanted to go further and remove the remaining $435,000 allocated for a parking structure and retaining-wall repairs in Hood Park.

The recommendation does not affect construction of a multiuse path running from Fort Meigs through Riverside Park to Hood Park.

“I disagree with the Riverside Park project, both in terms of money spent on it and the process used to push it through,” said Mr. Matuszak, who linked the Water Works building’s January, 2016, demolition — which was done without council approval — to the Riverside Park plans.

“The administration tore down the boat club to accommodate their plans for Riverside Park, was how I saw it,” he said. “The city failed or neglected to take care of it.”

The city administration could spend up to $25,000 in limited circumstances without city council’s approval. Demolishing the Water Works building, which housed the boat club, cost exactly $25,000. A separate purchase order was approved the same day to raze a house that was next to the Water Works building at a cost of $10,000.

Demolishing both buildings under one contract would have required council approval, but using separate purchase orders required no such review.

“It certainly appeared they broke down the demolition contract into two,” Mr. Matuszak said. ”That was an abuse of discretion.”

Rick Rettig, chair of the recreation committee, has supported the plans for Riverside Park, but agreed with Mr. Matuszak’s opposition to how the Water Works building was demolished.

“I don’t think there’s a single councilman OK with that,” Mr. Rettig said.

The finance committee discussed reducing what the administration can spend without approval, but did not take action. Mr. Matuszak said he would continue exploring different ways to rein in independent administrative spending.

Mr. Rettig also supports pulling the funding out of Hood Park renovations, though he personally supports improvements to the park.

“I don’t see any reason why we need to rush this,” he said, advocating for the city to wait for Riverside Park’s May completion before starting work at Hood Park. That would give the city time for residents’ feedback before making a decision, he said.

“We had better get it right,” Mr. Rettig said. “It’s going to be next to impossible to do anything else down there.”

The full city council could vote on an amended budget during today’s meeting.

Multiple attempts to reach city administration officials for comment Monday went unanswered.

Contact Zack Lemon at: zlemon@theblade.com, 419-724-6282, or on Twitter @zack_lemon.

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