Renewing oldest metropark’s history

Northwest Ohio is packed with history. And that includes the first park in the Metroparks Toledo system. It offers 90 years of history, but also has some new features.
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 6:19 PM EST
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MAUMEE, Ohio (WTVG) - Side Cut Metropark is one of the oldest Metroparks in the Toledo area. But if you haven’t been to Side-Cut Metropark lately, you haven’t seen a handful of projects that beautify the deep history of the park.

Bob Heckman is the Park Services Supervisor for Metroparks Toledo. “It was kind of like a side cut to get to the Maumee River from the Anthony Wayne Trail,” he explains of the origin of the park. “There’s a series of locks here which allows the boat to transfer down levels. So, the lock would close, and they could lower the water levels to get the boat down to the next level.”

Some of those locks are still in place at Side Cut. They used to be surrounded by overgrowth. Now, you can find paved and grassy areas, plus a Peace Garden – all funded through a partnership between Metroparks Toledo and the Maumee Rotary Club. Former Rotary President Michele Free tells 13abc the project was near and dear to her heart, offering her a sanctuary when she suffered a loss.

She explains, “I’m sure I’m not the only one who was looking for serenity and peace and quiet, a place to just sit and think. And what’s really fun about it now, as a side benefit, is that so many people are enjoying this space.”

And that’s what Justin Glover, current Rotary President, says he’s been anticipating too.

“It’s just something that you look forward to seeing when it’s done,” he says. “I’m just excited to see families all about and checking out the locks. It’s cool to see the history of it being redone.”

People enjoying the views, and photo shoots – park leaders say the area has been buzzing since last year.

Heckman credits his staff for work on the project: “It was all Metroparks staff that had put this project into motion. Tony Ankenbrandt, Nick Smith, Amy Newman, Jared Sutphin, Jordan Walker, Fred Dupree, all of them had a good hand in getting this project done.”

But he says work isn’t done just yet. He explains, “Weather had played a huge factor into how this project has gone, and landscaping material has been hard to get. We’re ¾ of the way done, but some parts of the project won’t be able to be completed until spring.”

Heckman expects all work to be done by the end of April, barring any flooding events.

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