Greater Toledo Community Foundation this morning announced a gift of $400,000 to the Metroparks Toledo Foundation to support Glass City Riverwalk. Specifically, the donation will sponsor a unique public art installation that visitors can enjoy in all seasons.
“We’re excited to join Metroparks today to unveil this sculpture and emphasize our continued support of their efforts,” stated Keith Burwell, president of Greater Toledo Community Foundation. “In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, we wanted to give back to our community in a meaningful way; thus, this significant gift. Our Metroparks system is tops in the country and contributes greatly to the quality of life in our community. We are excited to see the evolution of this park and how it will be a game changer for Toledo – for all to enjoy.”
GTCF announced that it would distribute more than $600,000 in funding, in 2023, to local nonprofit organizations in celebration of its 50th anniversary—in addition to an annual average grant distribution of approximately $18 million. The Foundation also announced a 12-month campaign, “Fifty Years of Funding Futures,” along with a 2023 calendar of community events and programs centered on honoring the past, celebrating the present and equipping future generations for continued community impact.
"This is just one of many times the Community Foundation has played a significant role in Metroparks ability to serve our community," said Joe Napoli, president of the Metroparks Toledo Foundation. "Keith and the Foundation have been with us from the beginning, making a significant contribution that helped pay for the design of this park."
The latest gift will be acknowledged at Rain Towers, a group of five, functional sculptures by Toledo-based Graphite Design + Build. The art will be the centerpiece of Rain Tower Plaza adjacent to Market Hall and The Ribbon ice skating trail in phase two of Glass City Metropark.
The sculptures will spray water to form a splash pad in warm months, while a fire pit in winter will provide a warming station for ice skaters.
"Rain Towers' dark bronze beams echo the building, though their design is culled from the city itself," according to the artists' statement. It includes design elements inspired by the nearby bridge trusses and the iconic cut glass geometric patterns made world famous by Libbey Glass.
"Not only will this financial contribution go a long way toward transforming our riverfront, but Greater Toledo Community Foundation's support will most certainly give weight to the significance of what we are doing here," said Fritz Byers, vice-president of the Board of Park Commissioner.
The first phase of Glass City Metropark opened in 2020, and phase 2 will open in June. The new park on the east side of the Maumee River will be the hub of Glass City Riverwalk, which will consist of 300 acres of greenspace and a five-mile continuous path on both sides of the river from the Veterans Glass City Skyway to the Anthony Wayne Bridge.
Construction is now underway for the first legs of Riverwalk, from the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge to the The Docks restaurant complex in International Park on the east side, and from the bridge to Fort Industry Square on the downtown side.
"Since 1973, Greater Toledo Community Foundation has made it possible for generous people to donate gifts in any amount to projects that make the Toledo area better," said Dave Zenk, executive director of Metroparks Toledo. "Their involvement in this project will help make a lasting difference in the six neighborhoods that Riverwalk will connect, as well as the region as a whole as we create the finest riverfront park in the country."