It's not fun to park at the YMCA

By Tim Miller - bio | email

Posted by Dave Dykema - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A church's plans for taking over the South Toledo YMCA took a major turn Wednesday night.

At stake? A popular park that residents don't want to lose.

Monday's announcement that the YMCA was closing its South Toledo branch was somewhat offset by new plans for the complex.

Cedar Creek Church would get it as a gift, for a south Toledo campus.

But a new wrinkle surprised church leaders and led to change.

The YMCA Building is nestled within a beautiful green setting off the Anthony Wayne Trail.

Right behind it is Woodsdale Park.

Residents have voiced concerns that the park would be swallowed up in the takeover.

Cedar Creek Church had proposed buying a quarter of an acre of land out of Woodsdale Park, to build extra parking spaces for parishioners.

But in a letter sent to Cedar Creek's Pastor Lee Powell, Mayor Finkbeiner wrote:

"A number of Toledo Councilmen are not enthused about this deal at this time. You have some work to do with the Council, as well as citizens."

At an afternoon news conference, the Mayor called on the church to hold a Townhall Meeting.

"I think the people that live in and around there, value Woodsdale Park and they do not want Woodsdale Park in some way, shape, or form to be transferred in ownership over to the private sector or the church sector," said Finkbeiner.

Pastor Powell heard those concerns and has come up with an alternate plan.

Instead of buying that land out of the park, Cedar Creek would request a zoning variance to allow parking spaces on land the YMCA already owns.

At Cedar Creek we do things pretty fast, and the wheels of government don't turn quite as fast," said Rev. Lee Powell, "and so we're learning that."

Pastor Powell told News 11 the mayor was pleased tonight when told of the change in plans.

But Cedar Creek is not committing to a Townhall Meeting.

"And it may or may not happen. I'm not sure we need one now, because we're not asking the citizens to give anything up," said Rev. Powell.

Cedar Creek's formal request for a zoning variance could come within a week.

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