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City of Toledo fights dismissal request on Summit Street lawsuit

City of Toledo fights dismissal request on Summit Street lawsuit
City of Toledo fights dismissal request on Summit Street lawsuit(WTVG)
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The city of Toledo is trying to give more clarity to the Summit Street project in a new court filing over paying for utilities.

This comes as Block Communication and Buckeye Broadband ask a judge to dismiss the city’s lawsuit to recoup those dollars.

The legal fight drags on over whether or not a Lucas County court will force Block Communications to pay nearly $1 million for moving its lines during the Summit Street reconstruction project.

The city of Toledo argues the project was for roadway improvement, not aesthetics. That’s the opposite of what some in the city said in 2020.

This is all coming from a recent court response after Block Communications asked to dismiss the suit. City lawyers say all utilities with lines under Summit Street were asked to relocate them but “all utility owners, except Buckeye, complied with the city’s request and moved their respective facilities at their own expense before the Spring 2020.”

The city paid contractors about $972,000 to finish the job in time for the Solheim Cup.

The city stresses the “parties actively discussed the financial responsibility for moving Buckeye’s lines and ‘no agreement’ was reached.”

The city argues municipal code allows them to ask for payment at any time, even if the project is completed, and city lawyers say Buckeye knows it should pay.

The city’s legal response says: “The face of the complaint establishes that Buckeye received a benefit and was aware of it.”

Why was the project completed? The city claims necessity, saying: “While there were certainly aesthetic aspects of the project, there were also multiple aspects of the project that were not related to aesthetics including: streets and street substructure, streetscape, waterline and infrastructure.”

Aesthetic is an important word because Buckeye has argued all along it should not pay for an aesthetic project, which is exactly what the project was called in 2020 in an email from the city’s law director to the city auditor.

Law Director Dale Emch said: “I made the legal decision [...] that the city should bear the utility relocation cost for this aesthetic improvement to Summit Street.”

No word on when the visiting judge will make her decision on a dismissal.

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