Summit Street Improvement Plan will now cost $3 million more than originally planned

Published: May. 13, 2020 at 10:03 PM EDT
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A $7.5 million project to revamp to Summit Street that originally was slated to start last month has been delayed due to COVID-19 and now is coming with a bigger price tag.

The mayor's administration is asking city council to approve issuing notes and likely bonds totaling upwards of $10.5 million to fund the project that would break ground in the next month or so.

A city spokesperson tells 13abc the scope of the project changed and design plans evolved over the past six months and that's why it is now costing more.

A driving force to finish the job soon is The Solheim Cup that is scheduled to come to Toledo in 2021.

The Summit Street face lift extends from Lafayette to Jackson. The main downtown road could become more pedestrian friendly with new brick crosswalks, replaced pavement, and added greenery to name some of the cosmetic upgrades.

ConnecToledo Vice President Cindy Kerr says at the heart of the project is a practical update.

"There's a waterline underneath there that's 150 years old that needs to be replaced, and that's really the impetus of why this work needs to happen," said Kerr.

The city estimates about 5,000 people work on Summit Street. The street is also the focal point for many popular downtown events, and the cancellation of most of them on the 2020 calendar could be a bonus.

"Now is a good opportunity to take advantage of the lower foot traffic, the slower cars. We don't have to work around them. So, it's a great opportunity to actually dig into the dirt and start to build," said Kerr.

The go ahead to get started comes from City Council.

Toledo City Councilman at-large Larry Sykes said, "People call me and say you know well you fixing up downtown. Why can't I get my streets fixed?"

Sykes says he first heard about this improvement plan from various corporations asking for his support instead of the mayor's administration.

"I'm going to vote for it. I understand that, but this administration has got to do a better job with working with council. It wasn't just me. It was six, seven other council people that was very concerned that you dropped this in our lap and want us to vote on it," said Sykes.

The city is asking for more than $10.5 million to beautify downtown amid the pandemic.

"How much is this going to cost the citizen? We're at a very critical time in terms of a crisis now. We're getting ready to cut anywhere from $25-50 million in the next two years," said Sykes.

"Cities and communities that continue to invest in the good times and even the down times are the ones that emerge stronger in the long run. So, yes, let's take advantage of a good opportunity right now," said Kerr.

City Council is set to vote on the proposal at next Tuesday's meeting. A majority vote is needed in order to pass.

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz told 13abc "This will pass easily Tuesday. I don't expect much drama." He plans to discuss this further at his weekly news conference Thursday morning.