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Great Lakes Article:

Recreational use suggested for Maumee dredging site
Article courtesy of the Toledo Blade
November 16, 2001

A casino, a Lake Erie historical museum, and a fish hatchery were some of the more imaginative ideas residents thought up last night for developing Facility 3, a 500-acre peninsula off the Oregon shoreline.

Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority representatives met with about 40 residents at the senior center on Bay Shore Road to brainstorm uses for Facility 3, a dumping ground for silt dredged from the bottom of the Maumee Bay and Maumee River for the last 25 years.

The site is estimated to be full by 2007, which has sparked controversy over where dredged silt will be placed in the future. In March, a committee studying the issue decided not to expand Facility 3 horizontally.

The committee, which includes federal, state, and local government officials, is considering adding more silt on top of Facility 3, expanding Grassy Island at the mouth of Maumee Bay, or dumping at several other locations on the river.

Officials said they did not know how high Facility 3 might become if more silt is put at the site. The land is about 24 feet above the bay bottom.

John Loftus, seaport director for the port authority, asked residents to put aside the issue of future silt sites and design their ideal uses for Facility 3.

"When we look at where to put the silt, itís going to be a trade-off. We need to get an idea of what we might be trading off at this site," he said.

Residents agreed that creating a channel through the peninsula is a top priority. They said heated water released by Toledo Edisonís Bayshore plant is harming wildlife on the south side of Facility 3.

"We need to get some water to that side of Oregon Bay. The bay is dying," resident Frank Bihn said.

A fish hatchery and large recreational park with natural areas and bike trails were other popular ideas.

Mr. Loftus explained two types of efforts to reduce the amount of silt that must be dumped. He said the committee is trying to prevent sediments from entering the shipping channel and is looking into recycling the silt by adding sewage to make topsoil or mixing in fly ash to make material for use in construction.

The committee also has made trenches in Facility 3 so water can drain from the silt. Drier, tightly packed silt creates more room to put additional silt at the site in the future.

Another public meeting about uses for Facility 3 will be held in January, officials said. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to think of an appealing name for the site.
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