Metroparks of the Toledo Area


Middlegrounds Metropark

Toledo, Ohio

28 acres, 11 hectares

Engineering, Environmental Science, Landscape Architecture, Master Planning, Programming, Urban Planning and Design

Merit Award - Landscape Planning & Analysis, Governor's Award

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“They just understand parks. It was a very inventive process. We’d think outside the box – real pie-in-the-sky stuff – and then chip away at it until it fit the budget. It was a great way to work.”

—Jon Zvanovec, Project Manager, Toledo Metroparks


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.

Related Content

A Park In Progress
Video highlighting Middleground's construction process.

Finding Middleground