ProMedica to replace smoke stacks to bring back Toledo's iconic skyline

ProMedica to replace smoke stacks to bring back Toledo's iconic skyline
(Source: WTOL)
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The landscape of the Maumee River front in downtown Toledo is changing once again!

Earlier this year, ProMedica Health brought down the iconic smoke stacks from the old Toledo Edison Steam Plant to make way for its new headquarters.

The company promised to return the original look for the building, and that process started Tuesday.

Built in 1896, the old smokestacks were a feature that the historical society wanted to see kept through the construction.

ProMedica planned on renovating them and giving them a fresh coat of paint. But upon closer inspection, construction crews say they were surprised that the stacks hadn't fallen off their foundations.

"That mortar and the brick had deteriorated to the point where the pinning of the old steel smokestack was no longer sound," said Bernie Merritt, ProMedica Project Engineer.

The replacement stacks were made by Gibraltar Chimney in New York State. They are 20 feet shorter and two feet smaller in diameter than the originals.

But their installation helps retain the history of the steam plant. Crews have also focused on preserving the elegant brick work of the building.

"So we've been very diligent about cleaning and any repairs we do is authentic," said Merritt.

Each stack is expected to take about a week to complete. Even though the smokestack trouble didn't slow down the $46 million renovation process, it did add a little extra cost. The original plan was just to repaint the stacks.

Work is also in full swing for the new parking garage at Promenade Park. And inside the old Key Bank building, now called the Junction building, offices are beginning to take shape.

Interior renovation will go from the fourth floor down. Work is also underway for the new downtown YMCA in the basement.

Crews promise a fully modern work environment, without displacing the history of these buildings.

"Walking that fine line. A little bit of modern, but really letting the old shine through," said Merritt.

Bernie says if the weather permits and a mild winter is had, the new parking garage should be complete by next May. Then, ProMedica employees can begin moving into the old Key Bank building in June and the renovated Steam Plant in July or August.

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