Toledo recommends against purchasing LibbeyWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toledo Mayor’s Office sent an evaluation on June 2 recommending to City Council to no longer pursue saving Libbey High School’s Field House and Skill Center. The evaluation was sent through Mayor Mike Bell and Deputy Mayor of Operations Stephen Herwat from Tom Crothers, Deputy Mayor of External Relations.
“Unfortunately, as you will see by perusing the study and, in particular, the ‘Cost Estimate Summary’, undertaking this project at this time is simply prohibitive,” said Crothers. “Accordingly, the Administration recommends that the city no longer consider entering into an agreement with the Toledo Public School System to purchase these facilities.”
Herwat announced the plans to save parts of Libbey during a City Council meeting on April 26, calling it a “unique opportunity.” The city planned on using the Field House to host winter basketball youth games while Herwat mentioned the stadium could host Mid-City Football League games.
The city originally planned to spend around $1 million on the building, mostly to install a new heating and cooling system, while they planned on purchasing the building for a nominal fee of $1. However, the newly released evaluation showed an estimate of $5,056,899 in repairs to ready the building for public use.
“The city had a plan and different ideas of what they would like to put in there,” TPS Board Vice President Lisa Sobecki said on June 5. “They stepped up to the plate. They also had to go through their process. I fully understand how processes go and how much it costs to do things in older buildings.
“I do applaud them and appreciate the fact that they came to the table and wanted to take an opportunity to look at the building. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t work. Would I have hoped this would have worked out? Of course. But understanding our budget constraints within the school district and their budget constraints within the city, these just aren’t good times for anybody.”
Sobecki also stated that TPS will still be entertaining offers for the building if anyone is willing to step forward.
“We continue, even at this hour, with our doors open if there’s anybody that should enter with a business plan that can actually take the building or the complex over,” Sobecki said.
In a email sent to Toledo Free Press, activist Warren Woodberry questioned the increased costs of many of the planned improvements, particularly a new communications system and the demolition and installation of new bathroom fixtures.
“There should be no rush to demolish these usable fixtures that were used by students at Libbey just 11 months ago,” Woodberry wrote. “This is suppose[d] to just be a comfortable community center trying to save a community. To price the improvements needed with this process causes one to wonder about other cost estimates featured.”