Middlegrounds Was Center of Transportation

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As we celebrate Parks and Recreation Month in July, Metroparks is proud to share a little history of our amazing park district and how some of your favorite parks got their start.

By Shannon Hughes

As we continue to work towards the revitalization of Toledo, we celebrate Metroparks first -- but not the last --downtown riverfront park.

The site of present day Middlegrounds Metropak hold historic significance for our region. From a canal hub to a railroad complex, by the late 1840s the "Middle Grounds" had become the neutral zone between these two opposing transportation industries. However, years of industry took its toll on this 28 acre parcel.

In 2006, Metroparks began the arduous task of transforming what was essentially a landfill into Middlegrounds Metropark by removing 8,000 tons of waste, including, tires, household garbage, and litter.

Today, Middlegrounds, with its entrance beneath the Anthony Wayne Bridge, provides an urban oasis in downtown Toledo that connects the community to the water and the area’s heritage.

Prior to Middlegrounds, much of the City’s waterfront was hardened edge where people could look but not engage with the river. Middlegrounds provides publically accessible amenities, riverfront usage and a park within easy walking distance for many city residents. Passive recreational trails through restored native habitats improves community health, reduces air pollution and promotes active, healthy lifestyles.

Metroparks plans on continuing this trend with Glass City Metropark in East Toledo between the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Craig Memorial bridges. Eventually, Glass City Riverwalk will connect Glass City, Middlegrounds and everything in between in a five-mile greenway stretching along both sides of the mighty Maumee.

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Photos: Middlegrounds then and today

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