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TMACOG receives $23.6 million grant for Glass City Riverwalk

A pair of Ohio congressmen announced Thursday the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments is receiving over $20 million to build a multiuse path along the Maumee River.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding $23.6 million to the group as part of the Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development grant program. The money will help TMACOG partner with the city of Toledo and Toledo Metroparks to create a trail on both sides of the river in the downtown Toledo area.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) wrote a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao in support of the project bid in April.

“This is great news for the City of Toledo, and I want to thank Secretary Chao for her support to bring these improvements to the city’s downtown area,” Mr. Portman said. “This grant will help the city create the Glass City Riverwalk, which would connect neighborhoods and businesses on both sides of the Maumee River. This project will transform the downtown Toledo riverfront and, as a result, boost opportunities for job creation and economic growth.”

The grant was also announced by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo). Miss Kaptur said the funds will help build more than one mile of trails.

“Toledoans have long waited for additional recreational opportunities along our precious waterfront and this federal investment will soon make this long-held dream a reality,” Miss Kaptur said. “TMACOG and Metroparks, through unprecedented collaboration with our residents, business community, local governments, and now the federal government, have presented a perfect model for working together, which will lead to progress and the improved well-being of our citizens.”

Officials hope to begin construction in 2022. The idea is to expand and improve upon what little walkway exists now to create more opportunity for nonvehicular movement and less traffic congestion in the vicinity of Promenade Park and other parts of downtown along Summit Street, International Park, and the future Glass City Metropark and Marina Lofts apartment complex being built adjacent to it.

Metroparks spokesman Scott Carpenter said the grant is a key part of the funding equation, but the passage of a November levy is required for the plan to fully come to fruition.

“A major part of the levy is for this project,” Mr. Carpenter said. “That would provide the matching funds to be able to take advantage of this money from the federal government. But we need both to make this happen.”

The riverwalk would be completed in phases over five years. With the BUILD grant, the focus will be on the broader part of the upcoming riverwalk. Initial work would include repairs to the existing seawall, transient docks, bicycle/pedestrian access, and a kayak share program.

The goal of kayaking is to promote a water recreational trail.

“So imagine Wildwood or Sidecut stretched out for three miles on both sides, that’s what we’re talking about,” Mr. Carpenter said. “It would be the realization of a dream for decades.”

The project also aims to improve water quality. Among the improvements are natural plantings along the shoreline, wetland restoration, and planting thousands of trees. Those components work together to capture runoff before it enters the river, and eventually Lake Erie, Mr. Carpenter said.


Posted By: The Toledo Blade on September 10, 2020.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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