TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - A big makeover is on the way for the middlegrounds area along the river in downtown Toledo. A big gift from a local organization will bring a piece of the great outdoors to the heart of the Glass City.
The Rotary Club of Toledo celebrated its 100th birthday Thursday. It plans to donate $300,000 toward the development of the next-planned Metropark.
"We wanted something that, for the second century of Rotary, that will be a part of our community, that will be an asset to the city of Toledo, something that we can take pride in long after I'm gone," said Toledo Rotary President Gary McBride.
Currently, it may not look like much, but the green lot will be transformed to include a place for outdoor events and picnics and the bumpy terrain will be smoothed into walking paths lined with plants.
Metropark officials said they also have plans to dive into everything the Maumee River has to offer.
"We are hoping, ultimately, to have some riverfront access that would include kayaking, canoe-launching areas, perhaps some amenities for the rowing club. Who knows. We'll explore those opportunities down the road," aid Stephen Madewell, executive director of Metroparks of the Toledo area.
According to Madewell, the addition of the Metropark is just a part of what is going on along the river to make it a must-see destination.
"Not only is the Metroparks involved in this middlegrounds project, of course, the YMCA announced their project down the river, and the city is doing some work at Promenade Park. So we think that all collectively it's going to be a great riverfront opportunity in the urban environment here," said Madewell.
Officials expect the project to take about two and a half years to complete.
The park will be located in downtown Toledo on the waterfront. The area is known as the middlegrounds and spans from the Anthony Wayne Bridge to the Martin Luther King plaza.
History of the downtown Metropark
According to the Metropark website, the $1.2 million purchase price and other costs associated with the purchase were reimbursed to the park district from a grant through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Estuarine Land Conservation Program. The grant, totaling $1.5 million, was designated for the project by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur in February 2005.
The property will be an urban greenspace with a walking trail and scenic views of the Maumee River.