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      New Metroparks executive director selected

      Stephen Madewell has been named executive director of Metroparks of the Toledo Area, the agency that oversees more than 11,000 acres of natural area parks in Lucas County. He becomes the eighth person to serve at the helm of the organization since its founding in 1928.

      "Steve stood out to us because of his breadth of experience, thorough knowledge of special park districts and deep commitment to the conservation mission that is the core of what we are all about," said Scott Savage, president of the three-member Board of Park Commissioners, governing body of Metroparks.

      The board, which also includes vice-presidents Lera Doneghy and Fritz Byers, voted unanimously to hire Madewell at a special meeting this morning at the park districtâ??s administrative offices in Wildwood Preserve Metropark.

      The new executive director's start date will be April 2.

      â??We are at a time in our countryâ??s history when many of the great Midwestern cities are challenged with redefining themselves and their future," Madewell said. "The conservation mission of regional park systems and open space districts must play a significant role in the stabilization and revitalization of the urban and metropolitan areas and exploring future opportunities."

      Metroparks of the Toledo Area is a regional government agency with nine Metroparks in Lucas County, preserving internationally significant habitats in the Oak Openings region and Maumee River/Lake Erie watershed, as well as historical sites such as the Stranahan Estate at Wildwood Preserve and the Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site in Maumee. It also provides partial funding to Toledo Botanical Garden.