Tuesday set to be defining day for Toledo’s parks and youth services

Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 11:20 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A showdown is brewing in Toledo politics.

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz is preparing to veto new legislation to reorganize the city’s parks department. Monday a group came out in force to ask him to reconsider.

It’s really an issue of how to do parks in the city. All sides say they support parks and giving kids opportunities. It’s just a matter of how it’s going to happen.

People may not know this but there are 129 parks in the city of Toledo. Many small, many in bad shape. To make them a priority, Toledo city councilwoman Doctor Ceceila Adams proposed a plan to change the city’s parks department.

“When you’re looking around at what’s going on with our youth and with our schools and with our kids and with our parks and recreational program it’s practically non-existent,” said Dr. Adams.

Dr. Adams’ plan would create the department of parks, recreation, youth services, and educational engagement. It would move millions from the current parks and recreation department to fund it.

Council approved this plan in early March but Mayor Kapszukiewicz says he’ll veto it Tuesday. He’s citing a legal opinion from the city law department that says city charter doesn’t allow council to create departments on its own. That, according to the legal opinion, has to come from the mayors’ office.

“We can work together on making adjustments but they’re not doing anything. They have so many other things that they are doing that it’s not a high enough priority and it’s taken a back burner,” said Dr. Adams.

The mayor said in his recent letter to council that he supports parks and youth programming but asked for more time to put together a plan. Leaders on Monday said the time is now.

“We’re going to ask the mayor to get on board, sit at the table with Doctor Adams. Let’s get this department up and running so that our youth with have more opportunities and let’s top some of the youth violence,” said Rev. Willie Perryman.

“Pushing this out 10 months. No! We’re losing our young people daily and we need to get these programs in order and set up for this summer. spring is here,” said Toledo city councilwoman Cerssandra McPherson.

This ordinance passed council 9-3. If the mayor vetoes this legislation, council would need 9 votes to overturn it.

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