Abandoned Grassy Island could become new park

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TOLEDO (13abc Action News) - Sitting at the end of the Maumee and the Ottawa Rivers is a blank canvas, and an area most people don't know about.

But there may be new life for the mysterious grassy island.

At Thursday night's state of the city, Toledo’s mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz unveiled a surprise project: to turn the abandoned Grassy Island into a new 150 acre city park.

“That's a grown-up real park waiting to happen,” Kapszukiewicz said.

Unless you have a boat, it's not easy for Toledoans to enjoy Lake Erie. To better compete with great lakes rivals, the mayor wants to change that.

“Toronto, Milwaukee, Buffalo, Chicago, they have wonderful green space to help people interact with this resource. We really don't,” Kapszukiewicz said.

Photojournalist Todd Gaertner captured the rarely-seen island from the 13abc drone.

“It is no secret that one of the things that I believe important is to find ways for the citizens of Toledo to better interact with our waterfront,” Kapszukiewicz said.

You reach the beach after a three-quarters of a mile hike. The mayor's legislative director Gretchen DeBacker said the mayor had his own adventure here during the campaign...

“And, um, got bit by a snake. And it delayed him back to a couple of meetings the rest of the day, but obviously, he survived. But he knows well, the somewhat treacherous terrain to get out there,” DeBacker said.

So how will you get to the proposed park?

“Perhaps a footbridge, boardwalk that would get people the rest of the way out there,” DeBacker said.

“We have had conversations with the Army Corps of Engineers and I think we are getting close. Long way to go,” Kapszukiewicz said.

That's because the Army Corps of Engineers currently owns the island and uses it for dredging.

“Timeline is also undetermined, but I can tell you that the mayor is very much focused on this project. It is something that he's passionate about,” DeBacker said.

The biggest challenge.... as always.... will be funding. But the mayor wants to get this done soon.