Toledo Botanical Garden transferred to Metroparks Toledo, 2018 "Matches and Planning Program" funding approved
Toledo City Council today approved Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz’s request to transfer the Toledo Botanical Garden in west Toledo to Metroparks Toledo and authorized the 2018 “Matches and Planning Program” local funding. Metroparks Toledo agreed to acquire the 60-acre garden and artist village in west Toledo to ensure it remains one of the city’s great attractions.
“Metroparks Toledo has always been an amazing agency that oversees some of the greatest assets our region has to offer – the Metroparks,” Mayor Kapszukiewicz said. “I have the utmost confidence in the Metroparks to continue to maintain the botanical garden as one of Toledo’s great amenities. It will continue to rival other botanical gardens across the nation.”
Metroparks Executive Director Dave Zenk said the park district will “keep what people love about the garden while adding additional reasons to visit.”
“We want to build on the horticultural heritage of the site, increase educational opportunities, and raise awareness to increase visitation,” Mr. Zenk said.
The Toledo Botanical Garden, 5403 Elmer Dr., began in 1964 when George P. Crosby donated 20 acres to the city to create a public park. The city established the George P. Crosby Park Board in 1967 to oversee the operation of and programming at the newly-opened garden. The Toledo Botanical Garden has been operating under the direction of a board with no budget assistance from the city of Toledo since 2006. Metroparks assumed responsibility for operating the property from the city in 2006 under a 33-year cooperative agreement then entered into an agreement with Toledo Botanical Garden Board, Inc., a non-profit organization, to manage day-to-day operations. Since then, the Toledo Botanical Garden has been an affiliate of the park district.
Last June, Metroparks and Toledo Botanical Garden Board, Inc. agreed to shift daily operations of the garden to Metroparks, while the non-profit organization continues to operate Toledo GROWS, its community garden outreach program. At the time, the park district announced that the popular Crosby Festival of the Arts and the Jazz in the Garden series will continue, with proceeds from both benefitting Toledo GROWS.
Metroparks is planning to develop a garden-themed playground envisioned as part of the new Discovery Trail that opened last spring. Recently, the park district renovated a restroom building, and renovations are set to begin shortly on the conference center and a maintenance building.
Metroparks and Toledo Public School are in discussions about a partnership to create a new trail through TPS property adjacent to the Garden. The property is between Hawkins Elementary School on Bancroft Street and the Frank Dick Natural Science Technology Center on Elmer Drive. In addition, there are opportunities to work with students at both schools to support their science and nature studies.
Council today also authorized spending up to $5.44 million from the Capital Improvement Fund for the 2018 "Matches and Planning Program," which is Toledo’s main roadway repaving program. This allocation is combined with grants and loans. Mayor Kapszukiewicz said the city administration started the process early this year so bidding and construction could start on time. The Kapszukiewicz administration also plans to have a residential street repaving program and a residential street patching program this year.