The University of Toledo will take ownership of two vacant lots at 2228 and 2232 Cheltenham Rd. from the UT Foundation Real Estate Corp., a subsidiary of the school’s fund-raising arm.
University officials plan to maintain the properties as green space, a decision that pleases neighborhood residents who don’t want to see the grassy parcels paved into a parking lot or built up.
The foundation’s real estate corporation paid $115,430 for 2228 Cheltenham in 2014. The following year, it spent $118,000 to buy 2232 Cheltenham. Both parcels at the time were deemed strategically important to the university.
UT trustees on Monday agreed to accept the properties’ ownership, a transfer officials said will cost the university nothing.
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The two adjoining residential properties total 0.3 acre and are across Bancroft Street from the core of the main campus.
The properties’ initial purchase and removal of houses sparked worry in the surrounding Old Orchard neighborhood that UT would use the land to expand the adjacent Driscoll Alumni Center parking lot. The jigsaw-shaped parking lot is often full on weekdays when classes are in session and a dearth of parking is a frequent campus lament.
Acquiring the two properties from the foundation will put them under the same ownership as other Cheltenham properties UT already owns, officials said.
“The transfer will further square off the parcel and place the property in the name of the University of Toledo which is similar to the remainder of the parcel,” Peter Papadimos, UT’s vice president and general counsel, told trustees. “There are no current plans for use of the property other than green space.”
UT spokesman Christine Billau reiterated the university’s intent to keep the area open and green.
“If anything changes regarding potential uses for the properties in the future, the university will discuss that with the appropriate constituents. This is essential in maintaining trust with our neighbors, and we are committed to maintaining good relations with our neighbors,” she said in a written statement.
The Old Orchard Neighborhoods Association has been vocal about wanting to preserve green space bordering the campus.
The group would like to see UT install a winding sidewalk along the Cheltenham properties leading to the alumni center’s back door. The neighborhood even suggested adding some benches and picnic tables to create a park area, said association president Dick Cromwell, who lives across the street from the properties.
He said the group is pleased the foundation plans to transfer the properties to UT because the university’s operations and decision-making appear more transparent.
In other business, trustees on Monday:
● Appointed journalist and author Christine Brennan, a Toledo native who gave the keynote spring commencement speech and a former sports intern for The Blade, as a national trustee. She is the first person to be named a national board member and will begin a two-year, non-voting term on July 2.
● Approved staffing changes including a $25,000 annual salary, effective July 1, for former UT president Lloyd Jacobs, who resigned from the presidency in 2014. His contract continued to pay him $392,700 a year through June 30. Mrs. Billau said Dr. Jacobs will continue to work as a professor in the surgery department.
● Created the Department of Medical Education within the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, the former Medical College of Ohio. The new department will house faculty members in areas primarily focused on education, such as anatomy. Staff and faculty will be involved in educational programs such as the clinical skills center, simulation center, and academic computing.
All items were approved by the board unanimously, though trustees Mary Ellen Pisanelli and Joseph H. Zerbey IV, the former president and general manager of The Blade, were absent.
Contact Vanessa McCray at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.