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Published: Saturday, 8/17/2013

Perrysburg City Council to discuss $26M riverfront plan

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Perrysburg Riverfront Master Plan view of Fort Meigs area. Perrysburg Riverfront Master Plan view of Fort Meigs area.
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Members of city council will get their first crack at Perrysburg's $26 million riverfront expansion plan Monday at the recreation committee meeting at 5 p.m. 

Thus far, only city officials such as the mayor, planning and zoning administrator, and Harley Ellis Devereaux design company of Southfield, Mich. have been in control of the plan. At the meeting Monday, council members Todd Grayson, Mike Olmstead, and Joe Lawless will discuss the plan and try to have a recommendation for the city council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"I think they will fully discuss the plan and acknowledge it, then chop it into phases leaving some of the controversial items later on," said Brody Walters, planning and zoning administrator. "Phase one may only include the path."

The path connects Orleans Park to Hood Park through Riverside Park. A grant from the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, $629,000 that the city is slated to receive in 2019, will pay for 80 percent of the cost to put in the multipurpose path.

The rest of the $26 million riverfront plan is still up in the air. The original plan also included a theater, ice rink, multipurpose path, high ropes course, mountain bike course, and even call for the relocation of the Commodore Perry Statue downtown.

"The only clear cut thing is the path will be done, the rest is up for discussion," Mr. Grayson said. "The path is something no one besides the homeowners there have argued against. We plan on getting that done in the next few years."

He didn't rule out other features taken from the plan later down the line, but nothing too elaborate too soon.

"I predict we will pull out a few key features that are low in cost like grading the hill at Riverside Park to make it more accessible. It is not a tremendous amount of money but enhances the park," Mr. Grayson said. "We can take the $26 million plan and whittle it down to $4 or $5 million low-key plans that are agreeable to the general voter."

Mr. Grayson also mentioned grading out Hood Park and paving the Orleans Parking lot.

To the surprise of Mr. Walters, the city council is moving swiftly putting this item in the Monday recreation committee meeting after the project was just unveiled, and sending it to city council the next night. Mr. Grayson said the council wanted to deal with it as soon as they could since they have "caught flack" for how big the plan is without the council having any control of the plan until Monday.

Mr. Grayson didn't rule out some of the higher-end projects. He said it is a beautiful design, but the bells and whistles at least won't happen in the next five years.

Mr. Walters is happy the plan will have some direction by Tuesday.

"In fairness to the administration and [Front Street] neighbors...we need to know the direction of this," he said. "Hopefully that will be by Tuesday."

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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