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Park improvements proposed as popularity grows during pandemic, highlighting need

Improvements will be coming to basketball courts if city council approves funding.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Parks have been popular over the past few months and now some neighborhoods could be seeing some much needed upgrades.

"More people than ever are using the Toledo parks in part because the coronavirus is pushing us to spend more time inside, so now, the park's commissioner says it's time to invest," Toledo Parks Commissioner Karen Ranney Wolkins said.

We met at Pickford Park where a note on the pavement read, "Please fix our park," signed by the community.

If city council passes funding in their next meeting, that wish will be granted.

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"The most problematic issue is that it holds water, so any heavy rain event, the drainage system has failed underneath it," Ranney Wolkins said.

The drainage problem will be fixed, a new court will be laid and get an upgrade with some nice new hoops. But Pickford Park isn't the only place that can expect changes.

"We will be able to do at least two new courts, so we'll probably do one re-build and one re-surface," Ranney Wolkins said.

Over at Smith Park, the basketball and tennis courts are looking good but they're waiting on a new anticipated playground. 

Gwendolyn Wilson started Smith Park Proud. The organization gets volunteers together to hold programming for kids, from tennis to ukulele lessons, and hosts park cleanup events.

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"It's really important that they're investing in the city parks because the city parks are right in the neighborhood and the kids can walk here. And when you have things like basketball, basketball is one of those activities where it doesn't take a lot of equipment," Ranney Wilson said.

Ranney Wolkins hopes other people follow her initiative and invest in their neighborhood park.

The investment doesn't have to be money, it can be time, volunteering or participating in programs like Wilson's at Smith Park.  

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