Orleans Park Master Plan Presented to City Council
A master plan for Orleans Park was presented to members of city council at their meeting on Tuesday, September 20, 2022. The plan was put together by EDGE, a Toledo planning, landscape, architecture and urban design company. The master plan can be viewed here.
Tim Bockbrader from EDGE presented the plan to city council. He explained that a stakeholder group consisting of people who would have a direct impact or interest in the park, was developed to give input about the plan.
“The group consisted of several members from Perrysburg administration, recreation committee, rowing club, Convention and Visitors Bureau as well as two others who brought a unique perspective: The head of planning and design for the Toledo Metroparks and the head of planning and design for the Toledo Zoo,” he said.
The group took everything into consideration including studying the riverfront master plan that was developed in 2011, the multiuse path that was installed in 2012, and a wetlands study that was done in 2014.
“We used these as background and history for this plan and asked, ‘are these still applicable today,’ to give them some direction to go in,” Bockbrader said.
Bockbrader explained the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis which helped come up with ideas for the plan.
Among the many strengths, the group found that the area has close access to the Maumee River, lots of nature, a bike path, and an area that’s already being used by residents.
A couple of weaknesses that the group found had to do with parking and the parking lot entrance as well as being near the wastewater treatment plant.
Opportunities include: Close access to water, access to wetlands for education purposes, many native plantings in the area, inclusive playground potential, hierarchy of a hiking trail, and birding along the riverfront.
A few potential threats were related to a possible expansion of the wastewater treatment plant and how much that would take up. Also, ice floes in the winter and shallow water.
After looking at this analysis and getting input from the stakeholder group, Bockbrader’s team developed multiple options and presented them back to the group and came up with this master plan.
The plan takes existing factors and incorporates them into this plan. For example, Orleans Park already has a bike trail, a new and improved parking lot, and several wetland areas. The wastewater treatment plant was also taken into consideration and space was reserved for potential expansion.
Some features of the plan include connectivity and access. Incorporating the bike path from Riverside Park and connecting it to Orleans Park is one of those features. The plan also includes a large walking trail around the entire property that is ADA accessible and boardwalks near the river. That trail could also give people easy access to downtown Perrysburg.
One of the main features is a renovated open lawn space with a pavilion modeled after the Glass City pavilion in downtown Toledo. It would be a large open space for events, meetings, or programming and activities.
Near that open space would be a playground that enhances the nature aspects of the area to encourage diversity and creativity.
For those who want access to the water, the plan calls for a boat storage facility and boat launch for rowers or kayakers in an area where they could launch without being swept in the current. An elevated walkway nearby would allow a unique view of the river.
A unique feature of the plan is a bike pump track where BMX pedal bikes could ride through a series of hills, jumps, and elevated areas in a wooded area that is currently underutilized.
Other features include floating gardens or islands that would create a visual expression and wildlife habitat, enhanced riverfront access with pavement, step downs, and kayak launching points. A shaded part of the park adjacent to a parking lot could also be a place for a two-scale dog park featuring separate areas for large and small dogs.
At the end of the presentation, Mayor Tom Mackin pointed out that there are some great opportunities to bring something unique to the Perrysburg community.
“The community has expressed interest in more access to the river but doesn’t want it to be commercialized,” he said. “We want to make sure it remains a park while also offering some real opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available.”
As for the overall expense, the Edge group did not yet have a final number, but Mackin stressed that that this plan would be phased in over time and that while it may be expensive, some parts are scalable. Bockbrader pointed out that some funding could be available through grants or wildlife groups.
The plan now goes on to the Planning and Zoning Committee which meets on Wednesday, October 5 and to the Recreation Committee on Tuesday, October 11.
To see the entire plan presented to council, click here to watch the livestream.