Council approves spending thousands of dollars on Toledo parks

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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Toledoans are split on where to spend more than $850,000.

"Parks," Cynthia, who lives in Toledo said. "So [the kids] have something to do in the summer."

"I see the parks need it, but I really think it should be spend on the roads," Lu Tricia of Toledo countered.

City council faced the same debate during Tuesday's meeting.

"There are many reasons why we need to turn our attention to the parks," Councilman Peter Ujvagi said.

"The streets reflect the neighborhoods," Councilman Tyrone Riley added.

Many on council acknowledged the need for significant infrastructure repair, but it came down to what would make the biggest impact on the community. In a 10-2 vote, council chose parks.

"We know that they're woefully unfunded, we know that they are in terrible shape and there's a great need to make them livable," Council member Dr. Cecelia Adams said.

The money is leftover capital improvement funds.

It will pay for the re-branding of every named park and help purchase new benches, picnic tables and grills for 125 parks.

And should the 2019 city budget pass, as is, another $500,000 will be set aside for playground equipment and athletic fields.

"I think that's what the kids need. They need to be invested in and I don't think we invest enough in our kids," Cynthia said.

No one disagrees with that sentiment, but some think the roads should come first.

"There's just so many side roads that are really, really bad," Lu Tricia, said.

"We want people to feel a sense of pride in their neighborhood and community, and getting these streets repaired will definitely do that," Councilman Riley added.

From here, the park project will move forward in what many say is an important first step toward rebuilding Toledo neighborhoods.

"I think this is something that we can do that will improve the entire city," Council member Sandy Spang said.

Council is still exploring new ways to fund residential road repairs.

Improvements to the parks will not cost taxpayers any additional money.