Consultant suggests city put more funds into parks - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Consultant suggests city put more funds into parks

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

A new parks and recreation master plan points to the need for the City of Toledo to dedicate new funding and develop new partnerships to boost recreational opportunities.

The report by Pros Consulting, which cost taxpayers $25,000 to produce, shows parks and recreation funding in Toledo has been low compared to other cities. Data from 2011 shows the city per capita spending on parks and recreation was $40.72, while the Midwest average was $73.

The master plan recommends the city should focus on developing regional-style facilities, such as a mega outdoor sports complex and a family water park.

"In many other cities throughout the Midwest, there's a real concentration about the economic driver and impact of the parks," says Councilwoman Lindsay Webb.

Webb was a supporter of the failed parks and recreation levy request, and while that's a funding recommendation in the report, it also says the city should dedicate one percent of its annual capital budget for parks and recreation. Councilman George Sarantou says right now that's not realistic.

"Until the economy continues to improve at a level where we've got extra money, we don't have to dip into the CIP to pay our general fund bills, we really can't have that discussion," he said.

Sarantou says for now the city should focus on replacing damaged playground equipment and making sure the grass is being mowed at city parks.

While the master plan is still in final draft form, Webb says there needs to be a roadmap to improve the quality of life and help attract people to the Glass City.

"I most certainly am going to support whatever efforts I can to get as much resources as I can into recreational opportunities for our children," she said.

View the full plan here.

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