Point Place residents not sold on $6M wetlands plan

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TOLEDO (WTVG) - Algae in Lake Erie is still a major concern.

Now, the state wants to spend $5M to create a wetlands at Cullen Park and another $750k on enhancing the filtration capabilities of Grassy Island.

The funding is earmarked for the two projects through the H2Ohio program. Money would be allocated to the area, with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority overseeing how the project would progress.

However, during a public meeting Monday at Friendship Park Community Center in Point Place, a packed room full of residents expressed concerns about the potential impact of dredging.

"It's just making a bad situation worse," said Point Place resident Gary Timman, who suggests the shallow waters would be breeding ground for phragmites, an invasive species of reed.

Cullen Park is the only publicly owned land with direct access to Lake Erie in Toledo. Initial concepts call for underwater vegetation and oscillating topography to filter phosphorus runoff from farm fields. The fertilizers, in large part, feed the toxic algae in the lake.

Those who live near the mouth of the bay are concerned about what those underwater changes could mean for their quality of life at the surface.

"What is that going to look like for our community? What are those wetlands going to do?" asked State Representative Lisa Sobecki, D-Toledo, proposing questions the crowd wanted answered.

Once the engineering designs are complete, the port authority plans to hold another public meeting to discuss those plans before taking bids on the contract.