Building up riverfront with nature, fun

Downtown Toledo’s riverfront keeps getting better and better. Metroparks Toledo leaders say the best is still yet to come.
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 5:33 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Construction has been ongoing at Glass City Metropark for a number of years. That development continues and new installations are happening all the time.

“This is absolutely the biggest initiative that the Metroparks has ever undertaken.”

Toledoans are already putting Glass City to good use at the Pavilion but that’s just Phase One. Phase Two is under construction now.

Jennifer Van Horn is the Director of Park Planning and Capital Projects with Metroparks Toledo. She tells 13abc that the newest building under construction, Market Hall, will contain a local restaurant.

In the past week, you might have noticed a new installation: a play structure.

“It’s 40 feet tall. It’s modeled after a Blue Grosbeak,” Van Horn explains.

“We have an ice ribbon coming in, we’ll have a ‘Mini Maumee’,” she said, “a splash/waterplay feature where we’re featuring discovery play through the whole park system.”

“These are the types of experiences that you find in some of the best cities in the world,” adds Ally Effler, Director of Philanthropic Programs for Metroparks Toledo.

A world-class project needs world-class teamwork and that’s exactly what Effler says she found in our community.

“In order for us to bring those to Toledo, we really had to ask our partners to step forward to help,” she explains. “The whole project is estimated to be roughly $200M. The voters of Lucas County provided about half of that support through the levy that they passed, and then the grants, the philanthropy, and the public partnerships provide that other half of the support.”

And Van Horn tells 13abc that the entire project is about connection.

“This is really connecting two sides of the river. Historically, when we said ‘downtown’, we always kind of said the central business district. And the East Side, you know, was the East Side. And so now, we’re focusing on the river as ‘downtown’. We are putting development, as well as the parks, on the river, connecting people to the water.”

Leaders with Metroparks Toledo say the next phase of Glass City Metropark will be complete in Spring of 2023, while the first part of Riverwalk will be complete in 2025. The entire Riverwalk project will be developed over the next 6-7 years.

You can find more information about the Riverwalk project on the project’s website.

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