Toledo Talk

Promedica/ Marina District/ Metroparks

holy shit. Take your RED and have this instead. Game Changer. Savvy move and a brilliant maneuver. Big props to Promedica for advocating and making this deal happen.

http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2016/06/08/ProMedica-plans-to-buy-much-of-Marina-District-in-East-Toledo.html

"ProMedica has negotiated an agreement to buy 69 acres of the district for $3.8 million from Dashing Pacific Group Ltd., Randy Oostra, president and chief executive of the hospital and healthcare system, said Wednesday."

"ProMedica plans to hold the land for an undetermined amount of time before it sells most or all of it for the same price to the Metroparks, which then intends to spend up to another $6 million transforming the largely-vacant land into a riverfront Metropark, said Dave Zenk, the Metroparks’ deputy director."

"The city spent $43 million to acquire and clean up the land beginning in the late 1990s, hoping to develop the space into a mix of commercial and residential buildings."

"Mr. Zenk said it is advantageous for the Metroparks to buy the property from ProMedica in the future, rather than directly from Dashing Pacific, because it can use Clean Ohio Fund money as leverage."

created by ahmahler on Jun 08, 2016 at 07:32:00 pm     Comments: 86

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Comments ... #

Horrible deal for the city of Toledo. Another property coming off the tax rolls. Just what Toledo needs from the non-profit looters.

Promedica, Henville, RGP, Port, County, Metropark, United Way etc - pretty soon there will be no tax base downtown.

posted by toledoramblingman on Jun 08, 2016 at 08:14:32 pm     #   2 people liked this

Kwityerbitchin! This is a huge win for the city ... the Metroparks has a better chance of making the land a user-friendly destination than the last 20 years' worth of phantom developers and mayors.

With a nice park in place, property values for the houses across the street will probably go up. One thing that has created a big "yuck" factor over the years is how gnarly and decrepit some of those eastside buildings look. :-(

posted by viola on Jun 08, 2016 at 09:27:41 pm     #   4 people liked this

I'm torn on this one. It's taking the property out of the tax base but I think the potential for development was/is so far out in the future it's questionable.

BUT I think Toledo could still F this up if they want to - I think the option to repurchase is valid no matter who owns it. So Toledo could still stick their nose in the deal and buy it for future development.

posted by MsArcher on Jun 08, 2016 at 09:40:26 pm     #  

It's a win-win. The city loses taxes on the property. The metroparks get another piece of land to kill deer and all the while asking for another levy so they can add to their already brand new fleet of John Deere 4 wheelers with a/c so their "rangers" won't sweat going from park to park.

posted by hockeyfan on Jun 08, 2016 at 10:18:43 pm     #   4 people liked this

viola posted at 10:27:41 PM on Jun 08, 2016:

Kwityerbitchin! This is a huge win for the city ... the Metroparks has a better chance of making the land a user-friendly destination than the last 20 years' worth of phantom developers and mayors.

With a nice park in place, property values for the houses across the street will probably go up. One thing that has created a big "yuck" factor over the years is how gnarly and decrepit some of those eastside buildings look. :-(

I do not support the suggestion that those with a different opinion should shut up, or "kwityerbitchin." I support the free exchange of the diverse perspective of stakeholders: Toledo taxpayers.

I am not just being negative when I say that property values on the east side near the property in question will not go up. No way to overcome the tide on that one.

This isn't development. It's the legitimization of non-development at a high cost with a resulting loss in property taxes forever. A metropark is nothing if not official non-development. They have exhibited some significant land lust in recent years. In fact, they may limit the tax base of Fulton County forever, if I recall correctly.

The only benefit whatsoever is that PH2 has already counted the money from the sale in the budget to help make up for the fact that we bought much less desirable land using taxpayer money that we can't sell also.

So, ProMedica, a nonprofit with a hand continuously extended to the community will buy a piece or property currently producing tax revenue, hold it for another nonprofit to give them time to secure taxpayer money to buy it from them.

Tidy little arrangement. Almost makes me wonder if the sitting Metroparks President is also a member of the ProMedica Health System Finance Committee. Nah.

posted by justread on Jun 09, 2016 at 05:44:21 am     #   5 people liked this

I guess this makes up for building a parking garage on top of Promenade Park.

posted by JohnnyMac on Jun 09, 2016 at 05:57:09 am     #   2 people liked this

I was reading comments on Social Media and The Blade this morning, and I could use some enlightening-Has there been some sort of deal that would have actually developed something on this property at some point? I mean, I know they had Larry Dillin draw up plans 10 years ago, but what was about to happen? How much was Dashing paying in taxes on this parcel? Was it more than a couple 100k/ year? I Mean, we all want the city to stop owning property, right?

If you develop the high visibility property, it could perhaps help in values (even nominally) in surrounding area. It's not like we don't already have a glut of vacant spaces across all zones. If there is demand, the businesses will arise. In the meantime, 1 less eyesore, and 1 less ode to the city clumsily attempting development.

posted by ahmahler on Jun 09, 2016 at 06:28:42 am     #   2 people liked this

What if perhaps this arrangement was structured way back with the steamplant transaction, long before Paula had a glint of becoming mayor, was part of the package along with Imagination Station vacating their location whereby Promedica assumes use of that structure for a campus style facility and then Imagination builds a custom made facility with a public park(using other peoples' money ie:taxpayer dollars) and everyone skips and frolics happily down the yellow brick road.

posted by Mariner on Jun 09, 2016 at 07:11:13 am     #  

“In talking to the mayor the last six months, maybe a year ago, we became very concerned about the Marina District, what was going to happen to it, where it was going to go, so we began a series of discussions with Dashing Pacific,” Mr. Oostra said.

In some circles this would be called quid pro quo and highly illegal. In Toledo, it's business as usually.

posted by MsArcher on Jun 09, 2016 at 07:12:47 am     #   8 people liked this

The federal government/insurance/medical conglomerate are the only ones with equity capitol remaining for sizable projects. Forget the military/industrial/government complex since the hippies took over. Groundbreaking ceremonial shovels of earth are falling slowly into the grave of capitalism unless you go upriver to Rossford where their city council has made no restrictive agreements dictating who can work where, when, how, and at what rate of pay.

posted by Mariner on Jun 09, 2016 at 07:36:57 am     #   7 people liked this

"No one wants to live here and businesses wont want to come beacuse there are too many nice parks."

posted by BulldogBuckeye on Jun 09, 2016 at 09:29:00 am     #   2 people liked this

So here is my thinking, if the parks are going to get control of this, then go all out. You have Boyer...or Schoonmaker or whatever they want to call it tomorrow...docked down there. You have the National Museum of the Great Lakes there on the northeastern edge of the property. I say go all in...

1) Increase the number of ships exhibited along the bank. Try to get more examples of the current fleet that is on the Lakes and also explore any restorations that can be acquired that highlight the heritage of either shipping or the Navy/Coast Guard on the Lakes.

2) Build out a new boardwalk along the river as well that would be welcoming for street vendors and such on the weekends.

3) Work in partnership with the Zoo to construct a downtown aquarium of sorts highlighting the species of the river and lake. Yes we have a new aquarium at the zoo, but I'm thinking a Metropark is more locally focused and an exhibit like this would fit better here.

4) Rebuild Front Street completely. Grassy median, bike lanes on the edges, new sidewalks, and more themed street lighting. Also do the same on Main Street including an elevated walkway over the road connecting the new park and International Park.

5) Mixed use parcels to include some commercial and residential on the edges along portions of Front.

Just some random ideas. I'm sure negativity will flow over, but if the Metroparks is going to take the property - then at least turn it into a destination that will bring value to the area.

posted by JustaSooner on Jun 09, 2016 at 10:34:14 am     #   2 people liked this

I'm of two minds on this story.

1) The property would most definiately be better utilized as a mixed-use social center. Businesses, promenades, apartments, etc. Making it a park, especially with another park literally across the street, doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

2) They've been trying to make that happen for literally 2 decades and it hasn't. Clearly, there's something about that idea that just flat out doesn't work. Gotta do something at this point.

posted by TheTalentedMrC on Jun 09, 2016 at 10:40:10 am     #  

How many acres are there total in the marina district - the news is about the 69 that dashing pacific wants to sell and the city wants to figure out how to best use the other land that abuts it.

posted by Mike21 on Jun 09, 2016 at 10:52:52 am     #  

Some great ideas JustaSooner. But I can't help but wonder how we keep it from turning into another taxpayer funded black hole that Toledo and Lucas County are so adept at creating.

I'd love to see some creative thinking and planning that could turn it into a year round destination.

Think about the thousands of people who flocked to the water's edge a couple of years ago to view/tour the Navy ships that came to town. That event also appeared to create a bonanza for some local vendors.

Appears to me to be an awful lot of positive happening in the downtown area. I just hope it remains affordable - especially the housing scene.

posted by Foodie on Jun 09, 2016 at 11:10:28 am     #   1 person liked this

" But I can't help but wonder how we keep it from turning into another taxpayer funded black hole that Toledo and Lucas County are so adept at creating."

It's the METROPARKS. They're really good at what they do. REALLY good. i mean sure, they're a government entity and therefore are terrible because of that and communism and whatnot, but they really are good at the rest of it.

I think this is a net positive for the city and the residents, but of course that means it's actually terrible and the worst thing ever and stuff. Right?

posted by endcycle on Jun 09, 2016 at 11:22:06 am     #   3 people liked this

You couldn't find enough positive in my post so you once again have to resort to your tired, old playbook?

Whatever, ec. Carry on.

posted by Foodie on Jun 09, 2016 at 11:26:58 am     #   2 people liked this

Foodie posted at 12:10:28 PM on Jun 09, 2016:

Some great ideas JustaSooner. But I can't help but wonder how we keep it from turning into another taxpayer funded black hole that Toledo and Lucas County are so adept at creating.

I'd love to see some creative thinking and planning that could turn it into a year round destination.

Think about the thousands of people who flocked to the water's edge a couple of years ago to view/tour the Navy ships that came to town. That event also appeared to create a bonanza for some local vendors.

Appears to me to be an awful lot of positive happening in the downtown area. I just hope it remains affordable - especially the housing scene.

I agree...we don't need another Imagination Station situation. Side note, I really think we need something new in the science museum arena and get TMA and the Zoo involved in some way to actually create a successful operation. I'm not saying we need something to the scope of MSI (Chicago) here...but surely we can find some middle ground for a high quality facility that is attractive to all ages.

I was in town when the naval ships and all came to town and that is really where I'm getting my ideas from. People really got into that and supported it. If we can create a year-round facility that celebrates it and then pair it with annual events like tall ships or naval vessels visiting...it could really be something special.

posted by JustaSooner on Jun 09, 2016 at 11:38:46 am     #  

I think this is an excellent use of that space, depending on the features included in the new park. Toledo is not (yet) a city that can support upper-income, multifamily housing/condos, but 30-50 years from now that kind of housing might be in demand here. I could see in that time frame, little pieces of the park being developed for residential, commercial, museums, and others - I hope that the plan will be flexible enough to create an outstanding urban park to complement the Middlegrounds. Having lived in the region for ten years, I was always doubtful that the Marina District would be developed - it's too big a piece of land in too poor a part of the city to be developed quickly and completely. This is clearly a 50 year project for the city, and citizen input will be vital to make sure the plan is sustainable and appropriate for the space.

posted by swampprof on Jun 09, 2016 at 11:39:35 am     #   1 person liked this

Foodie posted at 12:26:58 PM on Jun 09, 2016:

You couldn't find enough positive in my post so you once again have to resort to your tired, old playbook?

Whatever, ec. Carry on.

....I have a tired old playbook? I've always wanted one. :D

There is some positive in your post. I was just pointing out that the metroparks have a pretty great track record, do really well around the area, and I think can be trusted to not fuck up. My bad with the over-the-topness.

posted by endcycle on Jun 09, 2016 at 11:57:18 am     #   1 person liked this

6th_floor's comment in another thread:

Hopefully Promedica purchases the Marina District and officially converts it into a bird and bum sanctuary.

This might be my fault.

ProMedica and the Metroparks probably read my birdwatching reports from the Marina District land, and how I considered it amazing that Savannah Sparrows and Eastern Meadowlarks nest or try to nest each summer on that grassland habitat, located in the downtown of a mid-sized city. That type of bird activity in a downtown city is probably unique to the entire United States.

In the past, I have jokingly thought that the Marina District land should be made a city park. I never thought that it would be possible.

My May 2013 comment

From a nature perspective, that scruffy Marina District property has now become good habitat for some grassland birds. ... those birds require plenty of open space.

Well, grassland habitat outside Toledo gets developed, so now vacant land inside the city becomes the new grassland. Unfortunately, the city will mow the Marina District land and disrupt things. Maybe it should be turned into a park.


BTW, visit Google.com and note today's Google Doodle, which remembers Phoebe Snetsinger. Serendipity, bitches.


From justread's above comment

The only benefit whatsoever is that PH2 has already counted the money from the sale in the budget ...

I would agree if Toledo owned the land, but Dashing-Pacific will sell it to ProMedica.

ProMedica will buy all 69 acres of the Marina District land, currently owned by DP.

The entire Marina District land contains approximately 128 acres.

I don't know who owns the other 50-plus acres. Maybe the city of Toledo (us) owns it.

And maybe this other 50-plus acres will be sold by Toledo to ProMedica, which supports justread's comment about the mayor selling it for budget reasons. Toledo's 2016 budget relies on the city selling a few million dollars worth of land.

The text portion of yesterday's Blade story does not mention the possible sale of the other 50-plus acres of Marina District land.

But this image from the story alludes to ProMedica possibly buying ALL of the Marina District land eventually. What would ProMedica do with the rest of the land if it buys it?



From the June 8, 2016 Blade story:

ProMedica plans to hold the land for an undetermined amount of time before it sells most or all of it for the same price to the Metroparks ...

How many years in an "undetermined"? Three, five, ten?

The Middlegrounds Metropark is scheduled to open in three months, September 2016. The Metroparks acquired that land at least 10 years ago.

From the June 8, 2016 Blade story:

The new park would be the system’s top priority and take at least 12 months to plan, Mr. Zenk said.

Mr. Oostra stressed that ProMedica does not intend to develop the property and does not want to keep it long term.

Mr. Bell warned that Lucas County would no longer receive property taxes on the land once it is owned by the Metroparks system.

Neither the mayor nor Mr. Oostra was dissatisfied that the property would no longer be in the running for mixed-use commercial development.



The ProMedica/Metroparks plan for the Marina District will be the sixth development idea for that location.

Announced Marina District developers:

  • ~2001 - Frank Kass - Columbus
  • ~2003 - Bruce Douglas - Toledo area
  • 2005 - Pizzuti Cos - Columbus
  • 2006 - Dillin Corp - Toledo area
  • 2011- Dashing Pacific Group - China
  • 2016 - ProMedica/Metroparks - Toledo area

Toledo mayors since 2000:

  • Carty
  • Ford
  • Carty
  • Bell
  • Collins
  • Hicks-Hudson



More from the June 8, 2016 Blade story:

Mr. Oostra said developers have had 20 years to develop that property with no success.

Toledo politics may have been a bulwark.

Back in 2005, Pizzuti was the most involved among all of the past developers. Pizzuti held multiple meetings with the community, and they took their time developing a plan.

In my opinion, if Carty had not been elected mayor of Toledo in 2005, Pizzuti would have proceeded with development. It's probable that buildings would have gone unused for a while, until the recent interest by residents and companies to move downtown over the past several years.

When trying to move employees to downtown Toledo, the options might be limited, unless the company wants to spend money and time renovating an old building, and that's not an attractive option for all.

In 2006, when Carty assumed the throne for a third time, it seemed that one of Carty's main goals was to undo anything that was touched by Jack Ford. Carty firing Pizzuti may have been a disaster.



October 2005 - Toledo Talk - Pizzuti unveils Marina District plan

The plan includes
  • a 5,000-seat amphitheater,
  • 180 public boat docks,
  • a passenger terminal to bring charters back to the Great Lakes,
  • a recreational ice rink,
  • a riverwalk and a bike path,
  • 216 units of market-rate residential development
  • and 45 commercial properties, including restaurants and shops.

Construction on the project will begin shortly, with some elements coming on line in 2007.

Mr. Pizzuti said that the project would generate 1,800 jobs and an annual payroll of $42.4 million.

The plan calls for several anchors, beginning at the south near Main Street, with an amphitheater with a covered stage. Moving north, a second anchor would be the cluster of condominiums, townhouses, and apartments, including an eight-story tower.

Next along the riverfront would be the retail “town center,” which one official said would use Columbus’ Easton Town Center as its model. It would have 35 shops, 10 restaurants, a theater, and a “destination retailer.”

A public marina and the passenger terminal would be next, using an existing inlet that the city has already begun dredging and widening for use as a marina. Pizzuti officials said the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority has money ready to begin construction.

October 2005 Blade story with a too-small image of the Pizzuti plan. Image enlarged:

Obviously, that plan was too good to ever happen.



More from the June 8, 2016 Blade story:

The 22nd Century Committee, a public-private partnership drafting a new master plan for downtown Toledo in which ProMedica has a strong presence, determined the Toledo area lacks sufficient urban parkland, he said.

Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson said the entire 69 acres should be turned into parkland.

May 2016 Toledo Talk thread about the 22nd Century Committee's second meeting about a downtown master plan. Corresponding May 2016 Blade story :

A vision for downtown Toledo’s future includes more parks, improved traffic flow, and an emphasis on riverfront development.

Adding a potential 320 acres of parks — or 20 percent of the downtown area compared with the current 2 percent dedicated to parks — would put Toledo on par with other successful cities such as Chicago.

My thought back then:

"It seems like it will be tricky to balance more residential and business development with more green space."

Apparently, it won't be tricky. Adding more green space to downtown Toledo is what people have been wanting. This is action.

How many times do we say nothing happens after public meetings are held? Well, this is something, and it happened fast.

The 22nd Century Committee formed in May 2015.

But this part of the downtown master plan:

... emphasis on riverfront development ...

must be relying on moving the salt piles.



I'm curious how East Side residents feel. Things were raucous back in 2005, regarding the arena and the Marina District development, especially since it was a mayoral election year.

Back in 2005, Peter Ujvagi organized and led a Marina District Neighborhood Charette.

Blade June 8, 2016 story:

[Mayor Hicks-Hudson] said she hopes the new parkland and the visitors it will attract would be a catalyst for development on Front Street and along the nearby Main Street, the heart of the East Toledo business district.

Councilman Peter Ujvagi, who represents East Toledo, called the plan a “unique opportunity” and he is hopeful there would be future development in Toledo spurred by the park.

“I am interested in seeing land all the way up Front Street have an opportunity for a mix of park and some development and to have some dollars move into our community,” Mr. Ujvagi said.

That was the theory 10-plus years ago. Commercial development of the Marina District land would ignite a renovation along Front and Main streets.

But I've always wondered why should positive changes along Front and Main streets wait for anyone or anything? What has prevented a "catalyst for development" from occurring along Front and Main streets over the past 20 years?

The Warehouse District began improving long before the Hens stadium moved downtown. People involved in the Warehouse District in the 1990s were not waiting around for something to drop in.



Excerpts from a July 2007 Toledo Talk post titled Maybe the best location in Toledo for a walkable area

It's not the Warehouse District nor Uptown. It's not or won't be the Student Village area nor the Marina District. Those are or will be good walkable spots, but I'm talking about the best possible walkable area in Toledo.

In my opinion, the best area in Toledo that could one day be somewhat like downtown Ann Arbor or Bowling Green or even like downtown Perrysburg or Maumee would be a street appropriately named Main Street, which is located in East Toledo.

My theory is, the East Side has been told to cool its jets until the Marina District gets built. As if somehow a Marina District development will magically spur positive changes on Main Street. Why wait for fantasy land to get built?

I know the East Side has at least one community development org. What have they done for Main Street over the last 15 years? The Warehouse District didn't wait for a baseball stadium to be built before trying to improve that area.

But it seems this area of Toledo is the Forgotten Town. It's as if Toledo ends at Front St. The river side of Front St is fine with Toledo, but the citizens and politicians seem to ignore the area east or south of Front St.

With its interesting looking buildings and a location so close to the river, it's amazing that this Main St area is not more developed or better maintained and a destination area for the region.

Main Street plus Starr Ave plus the side streets should be an area to get lazy at and kill an afternoon. It's close enough to walk down to the river, and when or if the Marina District fantasy becomes reality, the walkable area would dramatically increase in size.

So what's happened to the Forgotten Town? What's the history here? Why hasn't the Main St/Starr Ave area progressed like the Warehouse District or even Uptown?

posted by jr on Jun 09, 2016 at 12:30:37 pm     #   5 people liked this

How long did it take to put together that post?

posted by JohnnyMac on Jun 09, 2016 at 12:52:29 pm     #  

seriously.

JR tends to do that, tho. :) Great post, JR - thanks for the digest.

posted by endcycle on Jun 09, 2016 at 12:56:54 pm     #  

Jr, yes, your mention of the meadowlarks and sparrows is responsible for sparking my concern to cease mowing the area and reserve breeding habitat for birds. There are countless colonies of stray cats in East Toledo, so the birds would benefit from greater protection throughout the area.

There wasn't ever going to be any successful commercial activity at the Marina District anyway...the area is adjacent to one of Toledo's many sprawling skid rows and Toledo's political movers haven't ever cared about the East Side.

At least the idiots who believed the Marina District was going to be built as envisioned by the numerous con men who came along, during several mayoral regimes, can now move along to their next Toledo pipe dream.

Birds and bums proudly can call it home once again. Since the bums moved from behind the Sports Arena and Brenner Marina to International Park decades ago, it's fair to dedicate the Marina District to the birds and wildlife.

This would be a great idea if ProMedica & MetroParks simply were going to quit mowing the area, erect some wooden fences, build maybe a couple gravel paths through the grasslands, place a few of those cool-looking MetroParks signs, and call it a day.

How dare I forget...all of this will have to include some bike paths. Never mind that nobody will use them. Additional bike paths rises Toledo a few notches (from the bottom) of the various quality-of-life city lists and maybe somebody in a Detroit restaurant could mention that Toledo possibly is a cool place to be nowadays.

Toledoans, like a drunk gambler are pot-committed to their bad poker hand aka the Marina District... nearly $50,000,000 deep in fact, so we'll pass the next MetroParks levy so they can piss away a few more million to create another park the area doesn't need.

posted by 6th_Floor on Jun 09, 2016 at 01:49:41 pm     #   2 people liked this

Nice post, JR.

All in!

posted by madjack on Jun 09, 2016 at 02:00:53 pm     #  

"all of this will have to include some bike paths. Never mind that nobody will use them."

I regularly use the road through the Marina District and the bike path in International Park. And I ride down Greenbelt Parkway and over the old 280 bridge to get there.

posted by Johio83 on Jun 09, 2016 at 02:13:02 pm     #  

At least in the future I'll be able to place a face to the posting handle.

posted by 6th_Floor on Jun 09, 2016 at 02:16:02 pm     #  

I'm not ecstatic about the MetroPark idea here. While I love the parks, and think green space is vital to urban areas, I think they're best served in balance with the built environment. A sprawling green space along the western bank of the Maumee makes a lot of sense, because it is up against one of the most densely populated areas of the entire city. They make less sense (in urban areas, anyway) when they're just kinda sitting all by themselves, which it basically would be over on the east side.

I think a smaller scale park would do well there, if tied into some other kind of development. The Front/Main intersection has a lot of potential, and I'd like to see people starting to take advantage of it. Like others have said, this doesn't need to be some huge city-wide initiative. It can just be a few businesses springing up, starting positive momentum, catching peoples' attention and interest.

posted by Johio83 on Jun 09, 2016 at 02:19:53 pm     #   1 person liked this

(And obviously, when I say "densely populated," I'm factoring in the workforce that is there during the day)

posted by Johio83 on Jun 09, 2016 at 02:22:32 pm     #  

JustaSooner posted at 11:34:14 AM on Jun 09, 2016:

So here is my thinking, if the parks are going to get control of this, then go all out. You have Boyer...or Schoonmaker or whatever they want to call it tomorrow...docked down there. You have the National Museum of the Great Lakes there on the northeastern edge of the property. I say go all in...

1) Increase the number of ships exhibited along the bank. Try to get more examples of the current fleet that is on the Lakes and also explore any restorations that can be acquired that highlight the heritage of either shipping or the Navy/Coast Guard on the Lakes.

2) Build out a new boardwalk along the river as well that would be welcoming for street vendors and such on the weekends.

3) Work in partnership with the Zoo to construct a downtown aquarium of sorts highlighting the species of the river and lake. Yes we have a new aquarium at the zoo, but I'm thinking a Metropark is more locally focused and an exhibit like this would fit better here.

4) Rebuild Front Street completely. Grassy median, bike lanes on the edges, new sidewalks, and more themed street lighting. Also do the same on Main Street including an elevated walkway over the road connecting the new park and International Park.

5) Mixed use parcels to include some commercial and residential on the edges along portions of Front.

Just some random ideas. I'm sure negativity will flow over, but if the Metroparks is going to take the property - then at least turn it into a destination that will bring value to the area.

Numbers 6 and 7 perhaps could be aspects that might support or appeal to recreational boating, because so far, the "marina district" has been planned by nonboaters with a perspective from land.

posted by justread on Jun 09, 2016 at 02:49:48 pm     #  

And maybe this other 50-plus acres will be sold by Toledo to ProMedica, which supports justread's comment about the mayor selling it for budget reasons.

It was early and I didn't sleep. I wanted to sell it again. :D

posted by justread on Jun 09, 2016 at 02:51:21 pm     #  

justread posted at 03:49:48 PM on Jun 09, 2016:
JustaSooner posted at 11:34:14 AM on Jun 09, 2016:

So here is my thinking, if the parks are going to get control of this, then go all out. You have Boyer...or Schoonmaker or whatever they want to call it tomorrow...docked down there. You have the National Museum of the Great Lakes there on the northeastern edge of the property. I say go all in...

1) Increase the number of ships exhibited along the bank. Try to get more examples of the current fleet that is on the Lakes and also explore any restorations that can be acquired that highlight the heritage of either shipping or the Navy/Coast Guard on the Lakes.

2) Build out a new boardwalk along the river as well that would be welcoming for street vendors and such on the weekends.

3) Work in partnership with the Zoo to construct a downtown aquarium of sorts highlighting the species of the river and lake. Yes we have a new aquarium at the zoo, but I'm thinking a Metropark is more locally focused and an exhibit like this would fit better here.

4) Rebuild Front Street completely. Grassy median, bike lanes on the edges, new sidewalks, and more themed street lighting. Also do the same on Main Street including an elevated walkway over the road connecting the new park and International Park.

5) Mixed use parcels to include some commercial and residential on the edges along portions of Front.

Just some random ideas. I'm sure negativity will flow over, but if the Metroparks is going to take the property - then at least turn it into a destination that will bring value to the area.

Numbers 6 and 7 perhaps could be aspects that might support or appeal to recreational boating, because so far, the "marina district" has been planned by nonboaters with a perspective from land.

What type of ideas would you have? The Front Street Marina is already there, but there has to be something else that could go in.

posted by JustaSooner on Jun 09, 2016 at 03:02:12 pm     #  

ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

(Haters gonna hate)

excellent call back!
Additional bike paths rises Toledo a few notches (from the bottom) of the various quality-of-life city lists and maybe somebody in a Detroit restaurant could mention that Toledo possibly is a cool place to be nowadays.

Bike paths don't make us cool, getting our shit together as a community and supporting each other does. Which may include bike paths, or metroparks, or common areas, or museums, or awesome wine shops. Because we're good enough, we're smart enough, and doggone it, someone likes us.

posted by ahmahler on Jun 09, 2016 at 03:10:20 pm     #   1 person liked this

Thanks Stuart.

posted by Foodie on Jun 09, 2016 at 04:04:57 pm     #   2 people liked this

Several years ago there was a guy who did small boat rentals at promenade park. There was also for a brief time a water taxi downtown... I could see this new park pulling a lot more folks on to the water. Would be fun to take boat rides from one park to the other.

Frankly I'm happy the property won't end up in the City of Toledo's hands and am hoping this increases foot traffic at the docks. I can't wait to see the plans / renderings for how this will all look. They've moved relatively very quickly at the middle grounds park...

posted by upso on Jun 09, 2016 at 04:11:56 pm     #   1 person liked this

The Middlegrounds Metropark is scheduled to open in three months, September 2016. The Metroparks acquired that land at least 10 years ago.

posted by 6th_Floor on Jun 09, 2016 at 04:24:56 pm     #  

The Metroparks acquired a lot of land ten years ago ... IMO, the new director must have made "using the land we already own" a priority. They opened 3 new parks this year.

posted by viola on Jun 09, 2016 at 04:29:08 pm     #  

Yes, the Metroparks acquired the Middlegrounds land in 2005 or 2006, thanks to a federal grant.

The Middlegrounds park is 28 acres.

It's too early to know the size of the Marina District park.

From the Blade story:

ProMedica plans to hold the land for an undetermined amount of time before it sells most or all of it for the same price to the Metroparks ...

Most?

ProMedica will buy 69 acres of Marina District land from Dashing-Pacific.

But apparently, ProMedica has the option to buy the other 59 acres of Marina District land from the city of Toledo, assuming that I understand the confusion.

Will the Marina District Metropark be based upon the 69 acres or all 128 acres?

ProMedica may sell most of the land. I suppose the park could be 40 acres. What would ProMedica do with the rest of the land?

We probably won't see any details about the proposed park until 2017.

From the Blade story:

The new park would be the system’s top priority and take at least 12 months to plan, Mr. Zenk said.

posted by jr on Jun 09, 2016 at 04:35:48 pm     #  

Quick synopsis.

Toledo and Lucas county loose tax revenue and soon the Metro parks puts another levy on the ballot. Taxpayers get screwed.

Did I miss anything>

posted by Erin on Jun 09, 2016 at 07:23:09 pm     #   2 people liked this

At least if the Metroparks ask for and gets another levy passed, it will be taxpayers screwing themselves - not the city doing it to them...

posted by Mike21 on Jun 09, 2016 at 07:43:51 pm     #  

Frankly im excited that Toledo is becoming a "parks town" and will happily put my tax money towards that endevour.

posted by upso on Jun 09, 2016 at 07:52:02 pm     #   8 people liked this

upso posted at 08:52:02 PM on Jun 09, 2016:

Frankly im excited that Toledo is becoming a "parks town" and will happily put my tax money towards that endevour.

Exactly. I'd rather it be private development but it's painfully obvious that's not happening in my lifetime. So if I'm going to pay taxes I'll gladly pay the extra 30 bucks a year toward a park I will use.

posted by Xbuckeyex on Jun 09, 2016 at 09:13:16 pm     #   3 people liked this

JohnnyMac posted at 01:52:29 PM on Jun 09, 2016:

How long did it take to put together that post?

It wrote itself, mainly Wednesday night. Most of the content is from Wednesday's Blade story and years-gone-by that's easily recalled from a database. Copy-and-paste. In 2016, a Marina District post snaps together like Legos.

I've been following the Marina District news for more than a few months. My first Marina District-related post occurred in January 2003.

Sounds like this whole project is going nowhere fast.

That was written thirteen months before Facebook began. It seems that the Marina District development has stalled.


Speaking of history, I assume that everyone remembers the Marina District plan, called "Esplanade at River East."

Here's the October 2003 Toledo Talk thread about it. Who forgets that?

The Marina District, which the Douglas proposal calls "Esplanade at River East," would be built on the east bank of the Maumee River between the Martin Luther King, Jr., and I-280 bridges.

The Douglas proposal would include 1,100 housing units; the arena; neighborhood retail stores; a marina; a commercial/entertainment center, and a 16-foot-wide riverfront walkway, or esplanade, dotted with restaurants.

The 8,100 to 10,000-seat arena would cost $63.9 million and could be done in two years, according to AMC/Hunt Group’s proposal.

Mr. Ford denied he was influenced by Mr. Douglas’ $7,050 contribution to his 2001 mayoral campaign.


Toledo politics are great.

MsArcher's June 9, 2016 comment above:

“In talking to the mayor the last six months, maybe a year ago, we became very concerned about the Marina District, what was going to happen to it, where it was going to go, so we began a series of discussions with Dashing Pacific,” Mr. Oostra said.

In some circles this would be called quid pro quo and highly illegal. In Toledo, it's business as usually.


Of all the ideas, a park is obviously the easiest one to implement, which means it's likely to happen. 128 acres or even 69 acres as a park. I never saw that happening. This is a little shocking.

I'm unsure about the theory that a Marina District park will positively impact other areas of East Toledo. It's easy to be cynical after being pounded by so many artist drawings of proposed developments over the years.

I'm interested in the political shenanigans, if any, behind all of this. History shows that something could be slightly off. I could be wrong. After all, PH2 is known for running a transparent administration.


Alleged facts:

  • Little development has occurred with the Marina District land since 2000.
  • A non-profit will spend millions buying land from a mysterious, disinterested tax-paying entity.
  • That land will be sold to another non-profit that will mysteriously find the resources to buy and manage the land.
  • This downtown riverfront property will no longer be taxable.
  • That same property may require us to pay more taxes to support it.


I wonder if PH2 will try to convince us again to increase the temporary income tax.

In my opinion, it's acceptable to be a little disappointed about this latest plan for the Marina District. This so-called prime riverfront property was suppose to be developed by investors to increase Toledo's tax revenue.

A couple of the goals from 2005:

To make the Marina District the center point for the revitalization of the core city which would include keeping young people in Toledo and the return of residents to downtown living.

To make the Marina District Toledo's premier neighborhood and a destination site for not just Toledo's "Upper East Side" but for our whole community.

I reckon that a park can do that.


From the June 8, 2016 Blade story :

The history of the Marina District stretches back to 1997, when the city started assembling the land from private hands.

The city spent $43 million to acquire and clean up the land beginning in the late 1990s.

Of the $43 million spent on the site, $19 million came directly from the city of Toledo.

The city spent $5.21 million to buy and demolish the old Sports Arena and $8 million more to build a mile-long road, Riverside Drive, with sewers and lighting.

Oh, man.

This is why I advocate not paying attention anymore. This crap can make a person ill. It's healthier to be ignorant.

I understand trying to be positive and looking forward and quality of life and all that, but how can we ignore the numbers? What about the millions of dollars lost?

How much catalysting will need to occur along Front and Main in order to break even?

And how can we not be skeptical when the city pitches its next pie-in-the-sky, taxpayer-funded operation that will transform the city?

This is similar to the Erie Street Market. It's one long-term, money-losing operation after another.

It's obscene to ignore the numbers and these failures and look blindly toward the future like nothing has happened, especially when this same political thinking says we have no money to repair roads, and we need more taxes.

I wish Liz Holland and her group (the Westgate owners) would have invested in some of the Marina District land, but she is obviously too smart to entertain the thought.


My May 2013 comment about the Marina District:

Ask why unsolicited developers from around the U.S. are not beating down Toledo government's doors with conceptual plans on how to build something along the water. If it was a worthwhile project, Toledo would not have to seek or beg for developers and investors. The developers and investors would approach Toledo.

I can understand the lack of outside interest in the old Southwyck mall property. But I don't understand the lack of interest from developers, regarding Toledo's downtown waterfront property.


Apparently, the Marina District property was never meant to be a modern form of urban density with commercial, residential, retail, entertainment, and public space all jammed together like one would expect in the downtown area of a city.

It's better to develop the soybean fields outside Toledo and convert Toledo's vacant lots into parks. That's what losing 100,000 residents over 40 years gets you.


June 10, 2016 Blade story

“There is no other demand for that property today,” Mr. Reichle said. “With all due respect to all those people who spent time and money that it could be developed, there is a reason it has not been developed and it had to do with demand and the economics of doing a development of that scale [in Toledo] ..."


Simply amazing. Over 13 years of following the Marina District news, attending meetings, dissecting plans, and hoping that one of the fantasies would be real, and it's going to end up a park. Wow. This is why I don't read fiction anymore. Real life is more interesting.


I'm guessing that in the summer of 2017, we will see another drawing of another plan for the Marina District. This will be the Metroparks plan. At that time, maybe we will learn when the park will actually open, the size, and how it will be funded. The primary for Toledo's mayoral election will be held in September 2017.

Everything is political.

posted by jr on Jun 10, 2016 at 12:04:32 am     #   7 people liked this

Bravo JR!

posted by 6th_Floor on Jun 10, 2016 at 04:18:05 am     #   1 person liked this

JR-

The questions becomes-At what point do we collectively call it a day on that parcel of land? If it's up to us, do we just let it stay undeveloped until the right deal comes along? Except, that property was about to go back into the hands of the City of Toledo

The 2011 agreement between the Chinese company and the city negotiated by then-Mayor Mike Bell has a provision allowing Toledo to buy back the property if it is not developed to the city’s expectations within five years at the same price of $3.8 million.

so... was that going to automatically happen? Was Toledo going to once again own that property?

  • We don't want our politicians to develop property.
  • We don't have business leaders in the "for-profit" sector, investing their money or leverage to initiate development. Some have tried, but for myriad reasons, it hasn't happened.
  • we have some strong leaders in the "Not for Profit" sector that lives in Toledo, and aren't interested in sitting idly by.
  • Nothing that anyone in the City of Toledo could ever do, would wash away the sins of the past.

It's overreach, I'll give you that. It certainly isn't in anyone's job description to develop a Hensville or build a headquarters on an unused piece of City property. We have a leadership vacuum, and Oostra and Napoli have filled that. They have the leverage and the backing to do it. It may not be their job, but they are doing it (mostly) because they think it's the right thing to do. The Mud Hens and Promedica are going to shape this city, and the Metroparks, the Zoo and the Museum all have the political will to get involved in many aspects. These are strange times, and on some level, these are our elected institutions, and some of the only stability. Should they be in the business of developing anything? Not really, no. Worrying about what could have been is just a fantasy though. There are plenty of pieces of land along the river that will have their day.

We should ALL be critical and thoughtful when these things happen. We should always consider the motivations and benefits. At the end of the day, this is a plus. Even the bizarre, twisted -good money after bad money, mysterious Chinese, hospital buying-a-property to sell it to the parks convoluted tale-We'll take a park. That would have saved Toledo a lot of money 10 years ago if they knew. That's a bitter pill to swallow. In the end-we get a park. Live and learn.

posted by ahmahler on Jun 10, 2016 at 07:16:10 am     #   5 people liked this

And another perspective is a leadership vacuum opening the way for opportunism by the bottom feeding sharks and slicksters.

posted by Mariner on Jun 10, 2016 at 08:17:44 am     #   1 person liked this

"At what point do we collectively call it a day on that parcel of land?"

Easy answer. June 8, 2016.

R.I.P. all those grand plans for the Marina District. Closure. Fine. Move on. Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars gone.

Clearly, this land could have been made into a park 15 years ago.

June 10, 2016 Blade story:

“There is no other demand for that property today,” Mr. Reichle said.

Obviously, that statement was applicable in 2001. But I was snookered by a new plan every two or three years. I should have listened to GuestZero back in 2005.

I take great pleasure in theorizing that the following trends have determined why the "Marina Project" is just not going to happen:
  • Businesses expect higher levels of corporate welfare every year.
  • Toledo's politicians are vicious, inept or immature.
  • Toledo's economy is collapsing.

Toledo doesn't have enough financial ability to even start the project. And those who do have the ability certainly don't want to go around spending their own money.

Remember, the wealthy stay wealthy by spending PUBLIC money, not their own.

Maybe this means riverfront property in Toledo is highly overrated. When I'm visiting downtown Ann Arbor, I never notice a river. Maybe one meanders through the town, and I'm too busy enjoying the city to notice. I don't know.

"The Mud Hens and Promedica are going to shape this city ..."

No, they are reshaping downtown Toledo.

I wish people would stop equating downtown Toledo with the entire city. I realize that people who live outside Toledo may think like that, but Toledo is over 80 square miles in size, and the downtown represents, what, maybe 2 to 4 square miles?

A park does zilch for the rest of the city. If one of the Marina District dreams had been realized, then Toledo benefits from the tax revenue. And the city needs more revenue from projects like this and not by increasing taxes and illegal fees on a shrinking tax base. Toledo's population continues to decline by over 1,000 people per year.

I want Toledo to quadruple the water rates for the outlying communities.

The Mud Hens and ProMedica are reshaping downtown Toledo. "Non-profits." That seems like an indictment on the unhealthiness of Toledo's economy.

June 10, 2016 Blade story:

... there is a reason it has not been developed and it had to do with demand and the economics of doing a development of that scale ...

That statement might apply to more than the Marina District land.

If it was decided back in 2001 to make the Marina District land a park, at least by now, any trees and shrubs planted back then might be tall enough to knock down the wind and provide a little shade from the sun.

That's a big open space down there when you factor in the wide Maumee River. It might take a generation before we can enjoy it as a real park. Start planting pine trees now. That land might be better served as a wind farm. Downtown turbines.

If the new park contains an outdoor ice skating rink that's open in the evenings and a cross-country skiing loop (embrace winter), people are going to get pounded when it's windy until wind breaks are developed.

Or forget the woody plants and manage it as a prairie. That's even better. We have enough parks with trees. We need more prairie habitat. A downtown prairie. That would be unique.

Make that land a river of Big Bluestem, Indiangrass, Tall Coreopsis, Wild Bergamot, Sawtooth Sunflower, Black-eyed Susan, Purple Coneflower, New England Aster, etc.

It's still possible that some kind of commercial development will occur at the Marina District land.

ProMedica plans to buy 69 of the 128 acres. What will happen with the other 50-plus acres? Will it be more park space or some other development, eventually?

I might try to raise the money to buy the rest of the Marina District. Then I will install a few of these to monitor things.

Anyway, good discussion. The Toledo area is a fun place to live. Enjoy the weekend with its variable weather. Lots happening, as usual.

posted by jr on Jun 10, 2016 at 09:19:19 am     #   3 people liked this

Should they be in the business of developing anything? Not really, no.

They should be in the business of developing things that are consistent with their mission as stated on their application for nonprofit status. My guess is that it probably says something about health care, with something about wellness thrown in to cover 90% of everything else.
Metropark real estate brokerage service? Hmmmm. Might not be in the 90% of everything else.

posted by justread on Jun 10, 2016 at 10:11:53 am     #   5 people liked this

Back after we had lost the battle over the ProMedica garage, one of the members of the park group suggested that it would at least be fun to work up a parody song for the Jr. Bar Association's Gridiron show, with somebody dressed up like Oostra in drag, singing "I Covet the Waterfront." That would seem to be even more appropriate now.

Another possibility would be this one, sung to the lyrics of the popular tune from "The Producers":

Germany Toledo was having trouble
What a sad, sad story
Needed a new leader to restore
Its former glory
Where, oh, where was he?
Where could that man be?
We looked around and then we found
The man for you and me
LEAD TENOR STORMTROOPER:
And now it's...
Springtime for Hitler Randy and Germany Oostraville
Deutschland Frogtown is happy and gay!

und so weiter...

posted by Bandito on Jun 10, 2016 at 10:52:11 am     #  

I can't wait to see the neon green lights on the Manor House. That's going to be awesome at night.

posted by JoeyGee on Jun 10, 2016 at 12:19:42 pm     #   2 people liked this

I like parks as much as anybody, think they're great. But, I have to say I am disappointed that this will be the end product of all the years of proposals, speculation, and wrangling. Firstly, the east side already has a ton of parks... International Park, Ravine Park, Navarre, Birmingham, etc. Downtown could use more parks, but the east side is not really downtown. There's a wide river in between.

Is a park better than an old decrepit power plant? Sure. Is it better than the Pizzuti company's proposal? Not by a country mile. Prime waterfront land that could have complemented the big side of the river, drawn both tourists and new residents, jobs and a bigger tax base, and helped the city recoup something on its giant investment. Bye bye.

Why the urgency to sell and develop? How about letting the land sit for as many years as it takes until the right plans materialize. Once again, the city looks bad. They have a budget full of holes and are hastily accepting whatever offer's on the table to fill them. I think they are also naïve to say it will spur a bunch of new Front Street development. That will take eons and an average household income about 3-4x what is currently there.

I rarely venture to that part of town and this new park will not give much more reason. I can only hope, in time, this actually turns into something cool - and appropriate - that people will use, and goes beyond purely open green space.

posted by mixman on Jun 10, 2016 at 03:45:00 pm     #   1 person liked this

I'm confused. I thought Dashing Pacific owned the docks, not the Chinese. They can sell to whomever they like right? Not really sure why the city looks bad other than the moronic amount they spent on the original cleanup.

posted by upso on Jun 10, 2016 at 04:23:31 pm     #  

I think this park proposal was a long time coming. I moved to the region about a decade ago, and all of the grand plans for that land struck me as starry-eyed. That parcel was never "developed" outside of the Acme plant, and as for the idea that it is "prime waterfront land" is belied by the fact that, outside of the immediate downtown area, the riverfront was an remains industrial from Rossford/Walbridge Park to the lake. The "district" is surrounded by low income neighborhoods - E Toledo and Vistula across the river, and the nearest upper-income, or at least middle-income neighborhood is the Old West End. Even cities like Detroit and Cleveland, much larger, wealthier metros, have difficulty redeveloping their old industrial river- and lakefront spaces into high end commercial and residential districts. It surprises me that it took Toledo so long to figure out that it wasn't going to work as hoped.

I also think that the new park should NOT be thought of as a park only for East Toledo. It should be designed to be a metro- or regional draw, a place where locals take visitors - this should include a boardwalk, lots of rotating activities, perhaps spaces for new museums, and environmentally-appropriate development for the balance of the land. Sculpture, interactive art, and a great playground would be a start.

I think the park, over time, can help do the work of increasing the surrounding property values that an isolated commercial and high-end residential development would not have. Having complementary urban parks at the Middlegrounds and the (new name) Marina District Park should absolutely contribute to the redevelopment of downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

BTW, is there a new name for the park? Any suggestions?

posted by swampprof on Jun 10, 2016 at 04:31:33 pm     #   1 person liked this

"I thought Dashing Pacific owned the docks, not the Chinese."

Via Bloomberg

Dashing Pacific Group Ltd. was incorporated in 2011 and is based in China.

http://www.toledoblade.com/chinaconnection2012

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, left, Yaun Xiaohong and Wu Kin Hung of Dashing Pacific group unveil a symbolic rock in a ceremony in the Marina District, July, 2011.

I did not realize that Dashing-Pacific was selling the land at The Docks that is home to restaurants.

Back in 2011, Dashing Pacific bought The Docks land.

The city of Toledo closed a $2.15 million deal Friday to sell The Docks restaurant and entertainment complex to two Chinese investors.

Ownership of the seven-acre riverfront property in East Toledo now belongs to Dashing Pacific Group Ltd., a U.S. corporation formed by investors Yuan Xiaohona and Wu Kin Hung.

Also in 2011, Dashing Pacific bought 69 acres of the 120-plus acres that comprise the Marina District.

Dashing Pacific, owned by Mr. Hung and Yuan Xiaohong, bought the 69-acre Marina District from the city for $3.8 million in July [2011].

Four years later, Dashing Pacific announced its intention to sell the 69 acres of Marina District land.



"I also think that the new park should NOT be thought of as a park only for East Toledo. It should be designed to be a metro- or regional draw ..."

No need for concern. The park will be managed by the county-wide entity Metroparks and not the city of Toledo.


"BTW, is there a new name for the park? Any suggestions?"

Bulldog McCloskey Park

posted by jr on Jun 10, 2016 at 06:11:08 pm     #  

Is the most famous east sider ever Tony Packo?

posted by justread on Jun 10, 2016 at 06:35:16 pm     #  

Typo above... "I thought Dashing Pacific owned the docks, not the Chinese." should have said "I thought Dashing Pacific owned the docks, not Toledo."

posted by upso on Jun 10, 2016 at 08:31:55 pm     #  

upso posted at 09:31:55 PM on Jun 10, 2016:

Typo above... "I thought Dashing Pacific owned the docks, not the Chinese." should have said "I thought Dashing Pacific owned the docks, not Toledo."

Still worked.

I took it as a tongue in cheek poke at people that can't distinguish between a company owned by people of Chinese descent and entire ethnic group.

posted by slowsol on Jun 10, 2016 at 09:09:53 pm     #   1 person liked this

Me and you both.

posted by justread on Jun 10, 2016 at 10:36:24 pm     #  

Well then, never mind! Let's roll with it! 🙃

posted by upso on Jun 11, 2016 at 12:53:53 pm     #  

I hope the first "rotating exhibit" is a Ferris wheel, enclosed for winter use. Extra points if the cars are shaped to look like Jeeps.

posted by viola on Jun 11, 2016 at 05:26:10 pm     #  

....actually, that's a pretty cool idea viola.

posted by endcycle on Jun 12, 2016 at 11:46:44 am     #  

OMG. Maybe Opal was right.

posted by WordsRUs on Jun 12, 2016 at 01:56:35 pm     #   2 people liked this

What if she's been behind this all along?!

posted by upso on Jun 12, 2016 at 02:32:23 pm     #  

She is the the real mayor, you know, so she's prolly pullin' the strings on this one alpabaababakani shumanaki wejungakawaki.....

posted by swampprof on Jun 12, 2016 at 02:58:17 pm     #   1 person liked this

Shit.

posted by endcycle on Jun 12, 2016 at 03:32:20 pm     #  

I've been on vacation for a week, so excuse me for being late to the party, but how did you all not see this coming? It was in the Downtown Toledo Plan put out by the 22nd Century Committee at their second meeting: http://downtowntoledoplan.com/document/public-meeting-2-presentation

posted by Anniecski on Jun 13, 2016 at 03:56:59 pm     #  

Here's a little Jane Jacobs for y'all: highlights from the chapter on parks in "The Death and Life of Great American Cities."

Conventionally, neighborhood parks or parklike open spaces are considered boons conferred on the deprived populations of cities. Let us turn this thought around, and consider city parks deprived places that need the boon of life and appreciation conferred on them. This is more nearly in accord with reality, for people do confer use on parks and make them successes—or else withhold use and doom parks to rejection and failure. [p. 89]

In orthodox city planning, neighborhood open spaces are venerated in an amazingly uncritical fashion, much as savages venerate magical fetishes. [p. 90]

…[P]eople do not use city open space just because it is there and because city planners or designers wish they would. [p. 90]

Why are there so often no people where the parks are and no parks where the people are? [p.95]

Too much is expected of city parks. Far from transforming any essential quality in their surroundings, far from automatically uplifting their neighborhoods, neighborhood parks themselves are directly and drastically affected by the way the neighborhood acts upon them. [96]

A generalized neighborhood park that is stuck with functional monotony of surroundings in any form is inexorably a vacuum for a significant part of the day. [p 99]

If downtown [the park] must get shoppers, visitors and strollers as well as downtown workers. If not downtown, it must still be where life swirls—where there is work, cultural, residential, and commercial activity—as much of everything that cities can offer. The main problem of neighborhood park planning boils down to the problem of nurturing diversified neighborhoods capable of using and supporting parks. [p 101]

Outstandingly successful neighborhood parks seldom have much competition from other open spaces. This is understandable, because people in cities, with all their other interests and duties, can hardly enliven unlimited amounts of local, generalized park. City people would have to devote themselves to park use as if it were a business (or as the leisured indigent do) to justify, for example, the plethora of malls, promenades, playgrounds, parks and indeterminate land oozes afforded in typical Radiant Garden City schemes, and enforced in official urban rebuilding by stringent requirements that high percentages of land be left open. [p 102]

The worst problem parks are those located precisely where people do not pass by and likely never will. [p 107]

In short, if a generalized city park cannot be supported by uses arising from natural, nearby intense diversity, it must convert from a generalized park to specialized park. Effective diversity of use, drawing deliberately a sequence of diversified users, must be deliberately introduced into the park itself. [p 108]

…American cities today, under the illusions that open land is an automatic good and that quantity is equivalent to quality, are instead frittering away money on parks, playgrounds, and project land-oozes too large, too frequent, too perfunctory, too ill-located, and hence too dull or too inconvenient to be used. [p 110-11]

City parks are not abstractions, or automatic repositories of virtue or uplift, any more than sidewalks are abstractions. They mean nothing divorced from their practical, tangible uses, and hence they mean nothing divorced from the tangible effects on them—for good or for ill—of the city districts and uses touching them. [p 111]

Generalized parks can and do add great attraction to neighborhoods that people find attractive for a great variety of other uses. They further depress neighborhoods that people find unattractive for a variety of other uses, for they exaggerate the dullness, the danger, the emptiness. The more successfully a city mingles everyday diversity of uses and users in its everyday streets, the more successfully, casually (and economically) its people thereby enliven and support well-located parks that can thus give back grace and delight to their neighborhoods instead of vacuity. [p 111]

posted by Bandito on Jun 13, 2016 at 04:36:05 pm     #   1 person liked this

I hope all those whining and crying about Promedica's parking garage taking away from the panoramic view of the Maumee River vista .....will skip on over to the new Metropark where they can gaze for hours at the view of the river and downtown. You might even have a picnic and catch the beautiful scene of sun as it slowly sets behind the One Government Center. Tons of riverfront space to appreciate.....AND the parking garage will be out of view.

posted by BulldogBuckeye on Jun 14, 2016 at 08:46:42 am     #   2 people liked this

whining and crying

It is/was a legitimate position. GFYS. :)

posted by justread on Jun 14, 2016 at 08:53:30 am     #   1 person liked this

yourself is one word. :>)

posted by BulldogBuckeye on Jun 14, 2016 at 09:07:56 am     #   1 person liked this

so GFY

posted by BulldogBuckeye on Jun 14, 2016 at 09:09:24 am     #   1 person liked this

Excellent. GFY. Thanks.

posted by justread on Jun 14, 2016 at 09:13:39 am     #   1 person liked this

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

posted by 6th_Floor on Jun 14, 2016 at 09:20:54 am     #  

BulldogBuckeye, the problem with the garage was never about views of the river, but nice try.

But it's convenient that you brought that subject into this discussion, as the garage, ProMedica's involvement in the 22nd Century Committee, and now this Marina District deal all share some similarities and reveal Oostra's modus operandi. This seems to involve: 1) saying one thing and then doing something else, and/or 2) operating secretly, behind the scenes with the mayor in public matters, outside the democratic process.

When the HQ move was first announced, he said that any needed parking would be underground. Yet the decision to build above ground had been made before Robin Whitney was even hired. An underground garage was never truly in the cards. Then their was Whitney's BS testimony before the council.

When the 22nd Century Committee [22nd CC, hereafter] was first announced, they said that funding would all be privately raised. Then, very quietly, they got $70,000 in taxpayer money--first $35k from the Port Authority, and then $25k from the City Council. Notice the flip-flop again?

What's worse, is that the 22nd CC, which was concocted privately, behind scenes with PHH and with no oversight, smacks of being some sort of extra-legal effort. I have found no language in either the City Charter or the TMC that authorizes the mayor to unilaterally involve the city in a public-private partership. (Consider that when the PPP was done for developing Overland Park, it was voted on by the commissions of the Port Authority.)

There had been no perceived need for yet another master plan, and it was not initiated by either the Plan Commission or the city council. It was not even brought before them to discuss and debate in public, much less vote upon. This is basically Oostra's private planning deal, conveniently paid for (in part) after the fact by the tax-payers. But as far as I can tell there was no public RFX process for selecting the consultant, providing for other interested parties to bid on the project in a transparent process. But I suspect that Oostra wanted a firm that was beholden to him, and he got it.

Anything produced by the 22nd CC is of no legal effect. That is, unless it's voted on and approved by the plan commission and the city council. Authority for planning and administering the zoning code lies with them, not the mayor and her staff.

And now, with the proposal to turn the Marina district over to ProMedica and Metroparks, we see the practical implementation of Oostra's secretive, extra-legal, behind the scenes manipulations. The preliminary proposals of the 22nd CC will be effectively implemented--with respect to the Marina district--without any new master plans having been put before the plan commission and city council. I can only hope the commissioners grow some and turn the whole thing down.

But I can see how this whole thing will play out. Next Tuesday, the clowncil will vote on the measure to waive the repurchase rights. They will do so without discussion, on a first reading, and emergency basis. In due course, either PM or Metroparks will apply for the necessary zoning changes, and they'll get it approved by the plan commission and council without debate.

What does ProMedica get out this? I think it's all about getting Imagination Station out so PM can grab it. If they are going to do the phase II and III of their expansion, they're going to need the space for their private campus. Eliminating the prospect of legitimate development at the Marina also probably suits the property owners on the west side of the river quit well, and I'm sure that old Randy is pretty friendly with a number of them.

posted by Bandito on Jun 14, 2016 at 02:30:24 pm     #   1 person liked this

When I see all of the new-found pessimism about the prospects of development at the Marina District--whether it's commenters here or on the Blade's website, or the pronouncements of Randy Oostra, city officials, and Harlan Reichle--I think "what a difference a year makes."

From January to April of last year, there were numerous hearings about the ProMedica HQ project and the garage at which many people spoke in favor of the overall project, including the garage, any many who spoke out against the garage while fully supporting ProMedica's move downtown. Much was written in the press and online.

Throughout that time there was boundless optimism about what ProMedica's move would mean for downtown and the surrounding areas. "Game changer!" was parroted endlessly. It was also called a "sea change" and one or more speakers called it "transformational." Pretty big stuff, right?

Here's a sample I've pulled from the I-net (to get quotes from Napoli and the heads of 5th/3rd, HCR Manorcare, and the Hylant Group I'd have to optain the recordings from the Council Clerk):

Tom Waniewski, as quoted in the TFP:
"This is an opportunity for us the repeat the history that the Libbeys and the Owenses started for us."

Wow, that's big shit indeed. You probably don't get much bigger in the history of Toledo than the likes of the Libbeys and Owenses. Councilman W. was obviously very optimistic about the impact of PM.

Also from the TFP:
Cindy Kerr, executive director of the Downtown Toledo Improvement District, said she was "thrilled" by the vote.

"We keep hearing it will be a trickle-down effect when they move Downtown; I really think that it's going to be a roaring cascade effect," Kerr said. "I already see the needle moving."

Bill Wersell, vice president of business development services with the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, agreed.

"We are ecstatic," he said. [Other buildings] are starting to get a lot more interest from out-of-town and out-of-area real estate companies looking to negotiate space for their companies."

A "roaring cascade" effect. Got it. I wonder where Cindy stands on the Marina district. One of the Treece boys (Ben perhaps?) wrote in the TFP:
"If Toledo properly markets the success of this deal, the possibilities are endless. We could see money flow in from throughout the region to help develop our underutilized exposure to Lake Erie West, or even international dollars to help revitalize Downtown."
And my favorite was a statement by Lindsay Webb, in what may have been one of the great moments in the history of the council:
"I'm so excited about the opportunity this presents for our city, I can barely contain myself."
And it's true--the tone of her voice suggested that she was in the middle of a very pleasureable and intimate experience.

That was then, this is now. Where, or where, has the optimism gone? Isn't it a little premature to suddenly declare the Marina district to be undevelopable when ProMedica has barely started work on the garage, and the "transformational" effect of their move downtown is still a couple of years away? For those who truly believe the ProMedica's move is going to have such a significant effect on downtown and the neighboring areas (Warehouse district, Uptown, Vistula, and the East Side) isn't it a bit premature to completely and permanently throw in the towel? It really stikes me as being rather hypocrytical.

Now is the time to be patient and stay the course. Now is the time for those who were so positive to be true to their words, rather than behaving like Oostra's panting lap dogs. Let Dashing Pacific hold on to the property and continue paying taxes while they try to find a buyer who will develop it (and no, a metropark is not development). Or try talking to them about their plans and see if they want to stick with it until the impact of ProMedica's move starts to take effect. Ludeman's and Waniewski's gibberish to the contrary notwithstanding, the city is not required to buy the property back at this time--it's called an option.

Of course, the usual suspects are hurling their favorite playground taunt "naysayer" at critics of the Metropark plan like there is no tomorrow. And leading the "naysayer" charge is Oostra's Gimp, Keith Burris.

But look at it this way: who are the "naysayers"?--those who think it's prudent to sit tight for a couple more years and see how things develop once ProMedica moves in and not short-change Toledo's future, or those who have very suddenly declared not only the Marina District, but the entire East Side to be utterly and completely hopeless?

posted by Bandito on Jun 17, 2016 at 04:57:54 pm     #   1 person liked this

just a reminder... anyone could have bought the land from "the chinese" but anyone didn't. Promedica did.

I think the City Paper's "Hildo" has a great take on this:

http://www.toledocitypaper.com/June-Issue-2-2016/The-Power-Behind-the-Toledo-Rebirth/#Community

We’ve heard all the naysayers.

“Why don’t we put the green lights around the whole city?”

“Why don’t we just rename it “Promedica-ville?”

Why all the hate, mate? We don’t recall such angst when Owens Corning decided to move their headquarters a few blocks and redevelop vacant industrial land on the riverfront. Or when developer Dave Ball went around buying up properties all over downtown, or when the Eyde brothers, from Lansing up north, did the same.

Heck, there wasn’t this kind of hand-wringing when Owens Illinois LEFT downtown for greener Perrysburg pastures.

Mebbe it’s just the tenor of the times, and the haters gonna hate. The truth is, there’s lots of need for redevelopment in an aged industrial city like Toodleydoo. What is needed is not just a vision for repurposing. What is needed is a vision backed by cold, hard cash.

Checks and balances
It might surprise some of you, but healthcare is big business these days. It’s true. The baby boomers are now in their sixties and seventies. And there’s a whole gob of ‘em. With health insurance. Paying ever rising costs to the health care system.

It might also be a surprise that Promedica is a not-for-profit enterprise. That doesn’t mean they can’t make a profit. They make a nice one. It just means they don’t have stockholders or other such beneficiaries to whom those profits are owed.

What to do with all that green? And we don’t mean neon lights, folks. What better to do than reinvest it in ways that improve the community? Enter the vision of CEO Randy Oostra. Redeveloping an abandoned property downtown, one that has had several artists’ renditions but not a shovel of dirt turned, into a new HQ. Refocusing the aged Colony into a dynamic main campus complex for the Toledo Hospital.

And now, facilitating the sale of the Marina District so it can be developed into a signature riverfront Metropark. Yeah, that’s not what all the artists’ renditions pictured over the years. It’s not what Larry Dillin or Dashing Pacific promised.

If wishes were wings, kids, pigs would fly. They aren’t, and pigs can’t. And neither can Dillon or DP.

Here we are in twenty sixteen, and some of the long standing eyesores downtown are at long last poised for redevelopment, with wishes backed not by pretty pictures but by checks with lots of zeroes. The kinds of checks that have been missing from every promise for the last two decades-plus.

Stop lamenting the by-lines on those checks. It’s finally happening.

posted by upso on Jun 17, 2016 at 09:28:58 pm     #   5 people liked this

From the City Paper Hildo post:

We’ve heard all the naysayers.

Why all the hate, mate?

... the haters gonna hate.

We await the cynicism and negativity blasted toward these projects.

Haters gonna hate.

Meanwhile, haters, get outta the way and let the shovels turn dirt.

Is that a subtle desire to have freedom of thought eliminated?

How dare someone ask a question.

Express an opinion, and if the mob disapproves, then you get labeled a naysayer.

The Toledo mob mentality:

"I want to force others to accept my brand of tolerance."

Are differing opinions prohibited in Toledo now? Are discussions and debate outlawed? Is it illegal to express frustration?

Toledo politicians have spewed bullshit about the Marina District since 2001, and now all of sudden in 2016, we're suppose to goose-step behind today's bullshit-spewing politicians.

It's a fact that today's vaporware idea for the Marina District is magnitudes short of the vaporware dream for the Marina District that was sold to Toledoans at least five times before.

But if you mention that you are underwhelmed, then you are a hater.

How in the hell can a Toledoan who has lived in the city for more than 20 minutes not be cynical about the rhetoric emanating from city government?

But keep your opinions to yourself, otherwise you will be labeled negative.

We live in Toledo. We are not the haters. Maybe the 100,000 people who have moved out of Toledo since 1970 are the haters. They left for a reason.

Since 1990, shovels have turned a lot of dirt on development projects in the outlying areas.

... some of the long standing eyesores downtown are at long last poised for redevelopment ...

Sadly, it seems that the eyesores are increasing between downtown Toledo and the outer edges of the city.

But the rebirth won’t be deterred by social media vitriol.

I've heard that the Hildo writer at the Toledo City Paper is a Toledo politician. If true, that makes sense.

Politicians and newspapers hate the internet for providing the masses with an easy soap box.

The intolerant attitude expressed in that Hildo column is nothing new. Naysayer, hater, negative. Concerned Toledoans have been labeled this way in the past.

Toledo Talk - 2009 - Confusing real negativism with valid criticism

... the word "negative" is fashionably and incorrectly tossed around in Toledo.

The local media and the local public officials have pounded into the citizens' minds the perception that Toledoans have a negative attitude. And this phantom attitude is supposedly harmful to the city.

In my opinion, this myth that Toledoans are negative was created to guilt the citizenry into not speaking out against moronic actions by public officials.

Government with help from its sympathizers deflects blame away from itself by attacking opposing voices and labeling the opposition "negative."

And what is "negative" anyway? Is questioning stupid decisions made by government and the public school system considered negative? No.

But I would say calling Toledo a boring place and claiming there's nothing to do is an example of being negative or at least being lazy.

Be wary of people who [incorrectly] use the word "negative" when referring to the citizenry. They are probably agenda-based.

Yeah, only a Toledo politician could have written that Hildo post. Too bad the internet will keep right on existing.

I assume that years from now when Toledo's development projects are actually completed, the city will have enough money for legitimate road repairs. You know, one of those basic services the city is suppose to provide.

posted by jr on Jun 18, 2016 at 06:19:36 am     #   6 people liked this

I don't know man, kind of seems like you're the problem. Wink.

posted by justread on Jun 18, 2016 at 07:19:32 am     #  

But I can see how this whole thing will play out. Next Tuesday, the clowncil will vote on the measure to waive the repurchase rights. They will do so without discussion, on a first reading, and emergency basis. In due course, either PM or Metroparks will apply for the necessary zoning changes, and they'll get it approved by the plan commission and council without debate.

! posted by Bandito on Jun 14, 2016 at 03:30:24 pm #

It went down today as predicted. After the audio is posted, I'll check out the time involved but I'll bet it took less than a minute for them to read the ordinance, then for Steve Steele to say "suspension!" and for the entire council to vote unanimously in favor. Zip, voila!, merci Madam!

70 acres fronting the river, opposite downtown, and they couldn't even bring themselves to discuss or debate the merits and drawbacks of the proposal. Not one of them said a word other than "yes." That's the same 70 acres that the city had agonized over for an extended period before approving the sale to Dashing. As it should be. Decisions of this magnitude should be made only after careful examination and deliberation.

This did not happen. It was not allowed to happen.

But, preceding the vote on the Marina district, the Clowncil did manage to spend a full hour on 3 resolutions, and most of that time was spent by council members falling over themselves to say something, get themselves on record, and upstage the previous speaker.

I wish that the Clowncil had spent more time deliberating over 70 acres of property on the river than they did in praising the winners of the debuttant event, the retiring nurse who has devoted so much of her life and career to helping the homeless (and boy o boy, she seems to be quite the lady who's done some good--hat's off to her), or in designating July as Immigrant Heritage Month (or something to that effect).

posted by Bandito on Jun 21, 2016 at 09:46:48 pm     #   3 people liked this

Self quote AND self like. Well played.

posted by justread on Jun 21, 2016 at 10:09:07 pm     #   3 people liked this

"Self like?" I guess that's something with which you must have some experience.

Could you possibly be "projecting?"

posted by Bandito on Jun 21, 2016 at 10:42:44 pm     #   4 people liked this

There's another one. :)

posted by justread on Jun 22, 2016 at 05:24:45 am     #   3 people liked this

So Ms. Mayor fell short on fundraising for the pools. Pledges total just over $127,000 and wouldn't have even broken 6 digits if not for Cornerstone Church.

She needs another $170,000 but is going to open them as planned.
If you have been holding your donation, send it in.

Too bad it's not a real estate deal. That would get a health care system's attention. A pool would be too much of a mission drift, being more of a health and wellness item.

posted by justread on Jun 22, 2016 at 01:16:45 pm     #   2 people liked this

STFU, Hater.

posted by jr on Jun 22, 2016 at 01:47:17 pm     #   2 people liked this

Save This Fundraising Undertaking?

I'll take a shift in front of Wal Mart with a can, I guess.

posted by justread on Jun 22, 2016 at 01:59:28 pm     #  

STFU, Hater.

! posted by jr on Jun 22, 2016 at 02:47:17 pm

How about wrapping up all the usual Toledo press smear-labels in to the all-encompassing phrase, "hating, naysaying Eeyore?" Or is that going too far even for the standards of Burris and Hildo the Dildo?

posted by Bandito on Jun 22, 2016 at 06:14:24 pm     #