28 acres, 11 hectares
Engineering, Environmental Science, Landscape Architecture, Master Planning, Programming, Urban Planning and Design
Merit Award - Landscape Planning & Analysis, Governor's Award
An abandoned railyard along the Maumee River was a vestige of Toledo’s 19th-century industrial heyday. Historically known as “The Middlegrounds,” the area had become a largely vacant eyesore separating downtown Toledo from its waterfront. After the city acquired the 28-acre site, it selected SmithGroupJJR to master plan and design a landmark riverfront park.
The resulting Middlegrounds Metropark blends riparian habitat restoration with new recreation opportunities and historic interpretation of Toledo’s unique river heritage. The design vastly improves the ecological health of the area. A unique “treatment train” system filters, infiltrates and stores rainwater, including runoff from the large Anthony Wayne Bridge. The reestablishment of riparian wetlands, woodlands and upland prairie will both restore habitat and address the river’s significant flood events.
Site amenities include trails, recreational greenspace, picnic grounds and interpretative exhibits. This innovative and attractive waterfront park will generate new momentum for Toledo’s riverfront. It provides a seamless connection between the city and its river, drawing visitors and spurring redevelopment in what promises to become a prime downtown destination.