Port of Toledo Manager Bud Shoemake sat in the “hot seat” in front of the Toledo City Council Wednesday night and boldly asked the city to help maintain the new waterfront park the port built over the last year. Shoemake looked the council straight in the eye and said that the port, through its own money and big development grants, built the park and transient docks and therefore the city should at least help to maintain it. At first, the council resisted. In fact City Councilor Jill Lyon declared, “Frankly, you haven’t made your case to this council.”
That’s when Shoemake “got down to business.” He said it was the port’s initiative that helped to transform an empty river bend into an inviting and economically productive riverfront park. He reminded the council that they have always wanted more tourists to come to Toledo, to enjoy its small town charm, lush green hills and river front. Shoemake said, “We delivered by building transient docks, an entertainment plaza complete with performance area and rest rooms. But he added, “We need help in maintaining it.”
Shoemake asked the council to cover the cost of water, park rest rooms and street lights. At first, the council balked. But with the persistence of city councilor Mark Camara and Bud Shoemake driving home the point that downtown Toledo and its businesses will be the prime beneficiaries of the park, the council relented. They voted unanimously to cover the costs. Just for the park. Not for the regular docks just to the south. Estimated cost to the city; roughly $200 a month.