A major entrance to downtown Toledo is about to be replaced. It will be called the Anthony Wayne Trail Gateway Project.
Officials say it will cost $3.5 million. Eighty percent of the funding will come from the federal government, the balance from the City of Toledo.
Thursday night, a public meeting was held about the project. People showed up to check out drawings for the project.
“I think it's going to open up people coming downtown,” said downtown resident Deborah Gerst. “I think it's going to be very well planned out.”
Currently, the Trail and an I-75 exit dump into downtown Toledo onto Erie and Lafayette streets.
The plan is to construct a new entrance just southeast of there. Traffic would curve onto Erie Street just ahead of the Erie/Lafayette intersection.
“You come into a very strange intersection surrounded by buildings not fully utilized right now, and what we hope to do is clean all that up,” said Dave Dysard of Toledo's Engineering Services Department.
Some buildings will be demolished for the gateway. Public artwork will go into the area, giving what designers call a ‘wow factor' to what's currently a rundown part of town.
“So we'll make a better access, a safer access, and make a strong, positive statement about the region,” Dysard said.
It may also make living downtown more attractive to residents like Gerst.
“Because Lafayette is difficult to cross when you want to come to the market, leave market, only one way you can. This will open it up,” she said.
The plan is to break ground on the gateway in 2016 and have it completed by the end of the construction season.
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