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Broadway Corridor to see ‘Youth-Oriented Improvements’

By La Prensa Staff


A new community center, charter school, and multiuse athletic field are among multi-million dollar improvements families will see start by the end of summer along the Broadway Corridor. While the projects are independent of each other, the main influencers on each have ties to the Historic South End initiative.


First, the Toledo Plan Commission on Thursday, May 9, gave approval for a special-use permit to open and operate a new community center at 1623 Broadway, which would promote the reuse of an existing, vacant building. Mosaic Ministries, which runs the outreach programs of Western Avenue Baptist Church of Toledo, is proposing to relocate an existing center just a couple of blocks from an existing location on Orchard St., as well as build a charter school.


Bob Welly is listed as the main organizer of the project. He has been organizing an extensive set of home renovations led by the Historic South End initiative along Crittenden and Western Aves.


“This is part of a jigsaw puzzle program we’re involved with. This building has been vacant 10 or 15 years. It’s a large building,” said Welly, Mosaic Ministries board president. “The plan is to move the operation of Mosaic Ministries from the old St. James School into this building as phase one of a bigger project. Phase 2 will be further development of this building, including an addition to make it available for a charter school that we’re working with.”


The charter school would operate K through sixth grade, with the hope of eventually expanding to the eighth grade, a format similar to how Toledo Public Schools operate all of its elementary schools. Welly indicated the charter school addition would involve a $6 million to $7 million project. The charter school also would require approval of a special use permit.


Mosaic Ministries currently operates Baby University, a pre-K program that involves young children and their parents in a specialized curriculum. The program gives parents in low-income neighborhoods the tools to close an education gap, where studies have shown children from low-income neighborhoods enter kindergarten 60 percent behind their middle-class counterparts in learning development. Much of that gap is made up when parents read to their kids more often.


There is also a community feeding program, which provides breakfast six days per week and dinner four evenings each week. Those are done in conjunction with Vision Ministries.


“Between the two, we cover seven dinners a week in the neighborhood. Those are free for anyone who wishes to attend,” Welly told the plan commission, while indicating the feeding program currently serves “hundreds,” especially toward the end of the month when money runs low for many families.


The Broadway Corridor Coalition already has given the project its blessing. The proposal must still receive Toledo City Council approval. Council’s planning and zoning committee will consider the community center plan at a public hearing June 12. Once final approval is granted, work could begin later this summer.


The next investment, to be completed by the end of the year, is the complete renovation of Danny Thomas Park, which currently includes a grass baseball diamond, a basketball court, a small practice football field, a picnic pavilion, and a jungle gym. However, it is unclear exactly when those renovations will begin.


“While there is a lot of activity at the park, little has been done to update the park these past 60 years,” Historic South End executive director Chris Amato wrote in a recent email to supporters. “That is going to change very soon!”


Amato indicated the combined park improvements would result in a $1.5 million investment.


The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation has adopted Danny Thomas Park as their first Youth Development Park in Ohio. The Historic South End initiative secured a $400,000 state grant, along with additional investment by city leaders. The YMCA and the Believe Center also are partners in the overall project.


Park renovations this year will include a state-of-the-art turf field for baseball and soccer, with complete fencing and dugouts. The lower portion of the park will see new basketball courts, a picnic pavilion, and areas for children to play.


The project has been ‘adopted’ by some members of St. John's High School class of 1969. A major fundraising event was held in Scottsdale, Arizona at the home of a class member’s friend, other alumni engaged in raising significant financial support in the Toledo community, according to Amato’s email.




Copyright © 1989 to 2019 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05/21/19 12:46:34 -0700.




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