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Schnieder Park to improve 33 acres, expand soccer facilities in $1.3 million renovation

Phase one of the Schneider Park revitalization plan will add new grass fields, updated sidewalks, parking lots and create easier accessibility to the fields.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Soccer has been getting more popular across the country and Toledo's Schneider Park is getting a $1.38 million makeover to expand the beautiful game locally.

The ball's already rolling on phase one. The developers, Mannik & Smith Group, and the director of the Toledo Celtics Soccer Club said they hope this will be the new epicenter for both soccer activity and economic development in the Glass City.

"This is a great time to be into soccer, having the World Cup just happen in November with the States doing so well," Director of Youth for Toledo Celtics, Yousef Aliakbar, said. "(With) the women's World Cup coming up this summer and our women being one of the most successful women's teams in history, this is spurring soccer all over the place, especially here in Toledo."

After getting input from the public and soccer club members, the design group has plans to reimagine the Schneider Park facility with the help of the city of Toledo and Toledo Football Academy, who also call the field home.

The park was allocated federal funding with the support of Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, as well as the city of Toledo.

It's a collaboration that Sally Gladwell of the Mannik Firm said will bring huge results.

"Doubling the number of our fields. They will all be grass fields," Gladwell said, of plans for Schneider Park. "Moving the parking lots and access of the park onto Detroit Avenue and Schneider Road so it will alleviate the congestion for the neighborhood."

Moreso, she said $600,000 in grants for the 33-acre project will come with positive environmental improvements.

"We're putting new sidewalks in, two new parking lots constructed out of recycled tires," she said. "Also using a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant to manage stormwater sustainably on this site, so it will be able to treat about 3 million gallons of stormwater."

The firm hopes to start construction in the next couple of months where they also hope to add turf fields, so teams like the Celtics can play longer. With the extra space and artificial and authentic offerings, Aliakbar hopes they can invite others to play, too.

"This will be large enough to host and carry an entire tournament all in of itself, due to the facilities that turf provides, and the usability that turf has," he said, "and the expansion in the new northern area and eastern area that will give us much more playing space."

The project has plans to include concessions, an ADA-accessible playground and a multi-use trail.

"For TFA (Toledo Football Academy) the expanded and enhanced park will provide a fun, safe environment where we can run our unique TOPSoccer Program adhering to ADA requirements that meet the needs of our athletes," Paul Holdgate of the Toledo Football Academy said in a statement to WTOL 11. "This will open up new avenues for families and children who wish to play soccer, but do not have the finances to do so. This facility will serve thousands of soccer individuals of any level, gender and age, and engage the surrounding communities with opportunities through the events we will provide.”

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