Issue 1 would provide funding for Toledo parks, pools

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - When it comes to the city's parks, Toledoans say there's a lot to be desired.

"The baseball park is in terrible shape," Toledoan William Wiener said of Highland Park. "[The city lets] weeds grow all over all the stands."

Wiener lives near Highland Park in the city's Old South End. Outside of mowing the grass, he says the city doesn't spend much time there.

"Nobody ever comes over here, and I think it's because of the condition," Wiener said.

From busted benches to rusty swings, 13abc found a number of problems at the park on Monday. Scenes like it aren't unique, though, as leaders say nearly all of the city's parks are in disrepair.

"We don't spend enough per capita, really, on the parks to do anything more than truly mow the lawn," Toledo Parks, Recreation and Forestry commissioner Karen Ranney Wolkins said.

Come March 17, voters will decide whether they want to invest in parks and other infrastructure with Issue 1. Under it, 2.75% of one's taxable income will be collected for 10 years. Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz previously said it will cost Toledoans roughly $8 more per paycheck. While the levy will fund many things, $1.5 million will be allotted annually for park improvements.

"We want to take that infrastructure inside the park and lift it up," Ranney Wolkins said.

If Issue 1 passes, city leaders say it will mean millions invested in every park to renovate shelters, athletic courts and equipment. The levy will also keep city pools open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and also create youth recreation leagues.

"We just owe more to the community to give them a better experience in the parks," Ranney Wolkins said.

Without new money, leaders say the parks will survive but add things will also stay status quo. Meanwhile, voters like Wiener say Issue 1 is something they'll consider, all to improve Toledo's parks.

"Fix it so the kids can play and feel like it's a place to come," Wiener said.

Issue 1 would also guarantee repairs to 72 miles of residential roads for 10 years, put more officers and firefighters on the streets and partially fund a Universal Pre-K program.