As construction on the Anthony Wayne (high level) bridge comes to completion, a new park in the Metroparks of the Toledo Area system is being created immediately adjacent to it. The Middlegrounds Metropark is a 28-acre parcel that is under and south of the bridge. The new park will be an urban greenspace with a walking trail, fishing access, a canoe and kayak launch area, and scenic views of the Maumee River.
Work being done this fall includes clearing areas for trails, road access, and parking. Metroparks removed 8,000 tons of old construction materials, concrete waste, and other rubbish from the area. Next year, a picnic pavilion will be built on the site with financial support from the Rotary Club of Toledo. The new park is expected to be complete in the fall of 2016.
In addition to providing an urban recreation spot, the area will also include a stormwater management system that reduces pollution and erosion from bridge runoff. A series of constructed swales and a wetland system is being built to collect rain and snowmelt that falls from the bridge, slow its flow, and filter it before releasing it into the river.
The name “middlegrounds” is the historic name of the part of downtown Toledo that is near the confluence of Swan Creek and the Maumee River. In the early 1900s there was a large railyard and freight depot in the area. Some elements remain from Toledo’s earliest days including the rail lines that now serve Amtrak, the Oliver House, and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza (formerly Central Union Terminal) which houses the Amtrak station as well as TMACOG offices.
Stormwater from the Anthony Wayne Bridge will now be collected and filtered
through a wetland system before being directed to the Maumee River. Without
the new system, rainwater pours directly on to the earth from the bridge at high velocity, carrying contaminants from the road surface into the river and causing
erosion of soil under the bridge.
Earth moving equipment grades the park to create a launch area for canoes
and kayaks. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza is the building in the distance.