Toledo Talk

Great Toledo write up in the Chicago Tribune

Didn’t see this one coming!

created by upso on Oct 10, 2017 at 03:38:39 pm     The Arts     Comments: 17

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I was just coming here to post the same thing. Nice writeup!

posted by endcycle on Oct 10, 2017 at 04:10:09 pm     #  

excellent !

i am hopeful that we are on the verge of getting new construction and infill projects... specifically if we could start to get brownstones/townhouse type projects .... owner-occupied single family possibly live-work units. we need to get the mixed use balance correct... right now i think we are getting too heavy on the apartment/condo and entertainment uses.

interesting and complex conversation around the question of promedica's role in all of this... was it necessary to have a benevolent dictator to achieve this ? we turned over control of our neighborhoods and properties all around their developments and gave them carte blanche in planning functions with mostly good results but some negative consequences.

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Oct 11, 2017 at 08:29:57 am     #  

It was a nice article about how Toledo, mainly the downtown area, is a good place to visit.

It will be a more encouraging article, especially for current Toledo residents, when the article discusses how Toledo is a good place to live, including living anywhere across all 80-plus square miles of the city.

Small moves, I guess.

posted by jr on Oct 11, 2017 at 08:41:15 am     #   4 people liked this

In the near future.....Is downtown Toledo closer to more major developments/projects or closer to plateau-ing and this furious pace slowing considerably?

posted by BulldogBuckeye on Oct 11, 2017 at 11:31:35 am     #  

That's a very good question.

posted by upso on Oct 11, 2017 at 11:57:01 am     #  

I'm obviously a downtown cheerleader, but I think it would take a serious disruption to slow things down. We've lagged so far behind the rest of the country in terms of refocusing on and rebuilding our downtown, that I think we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg. We're always slower to adopt trends and changes, and if it's still going gangbusters in every other city's downtown across the country, I think it stands to reason it'll be a while before anyone here decides downtown is lame again. Besides 6th.

posted by Johio83 on Oct 11, 2017 at 12:00:14 pm     #  

I think it notable that NO politician was mentioned (and rightfully so in my opinion) regarding who is responsible for the renaissance. Quote from the article:

"The key leader, according to everyone: Randy Oostra, president and CEO of health care giant ProMedica".....

Regarding "live" vs. "visit"....getting people here to check things out is a viable way to determine if, indeed, living here is desirable. That's when the second article is written....small moves to other moves.

posted by ThePolishFalcon on Oct 11, 2017 at 02:21:33 pm     #  

The living thing isn’t that important right now. I think most people already think this is a nice place to live, assuming you have a job and don’t mind the winter. As soon as more jobs come, more people will see all it has to offer.

We’ve always worried too much about how people outside, think of Toledo. This is nice, but it’s a fluff piece with a lot of nice observations (+1 for Registry Bistro).

The thing we have now, that we’ve never actually had before-momentum. A concentration of energy and appearance of rebounding will continue to drive business. We’re in a good place, but it’s a long journey. It won’t happen as fast as it has for other cities. This positivity really started with The Mud Hens relocationing, that’s 15 years. We just now are starting to believe as a majority, where we are and where we’re heading. It’s awesome that other people are starting to recognize it as well.

posted by ahmahler on Oct 11, 2017 at 03:04:49 pm     #  

while the investors and developers brought the vision across the finish line, i am going to give a handful of politicians some credit on this... while there have been problems with CDCs and block grant money over the last 25 years the pols did do some positive things... the 20/20 plan and rewrite of the zoning code by the plan commission and approved by the pols did indeed make important changes that helped lay the ground work for reinvestment in urban neighborhoods. while i did disagree with specific locations because of the number of buildings demo'd for the both arena and the ballpark, it did take some fortitude to go against some powerful interests to move both of these institutions downtown.... add to that the creation of the landbank that assembled properties and put owners on notice that among other things neglected properties would be taken.

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Oct 11, 2017 at 03:23:07 pm     #  

.... and .... despite the grief zcarty got for the marina district i believe assembling that property is in the long run prove to be a positive move.... hell, the museum of the great lakes is enough to call it a success. now dont get me wrong, there is still plenty to call him out on... hahaa

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Oct 11, 2017 at 03:30:57 pm     #  

"The living thing isn’t that important right now."

Mmm. That's an unfortunate observation.

For Toledo residents, I would say that the "living thing" is important now, and it has been important in the past (note the severe population decline over the past 50 years), and it could be important in the future.

Schools become an issue for many families. Crime and infrastructure become issues for some. Those are not new concerns.

Perrysburg is micro-chipping fowl while Toledo is hunting down murderers.

I've heard and read this type of sentiment many times over the past 15 years about some parts of Toledo. It doesn't apply city-wide, but it probably occurs too much. This was from an Oct 10, 2017 Blade story.

The area was once nice, he said, but he now wants to move because of recent shootings. “It's ridiculous. I don't feel safe here anymore,” Mr. Stelzer said.

I'm guessing that the "living thing" is important to that Toledo resident.

It seem that every weekend, the Blade runs a story or two about housing developments that are occurring in the surrounding area outside Toledo.

Sun, Oct 1, 2017 Toledo Blade story Wingate Meadows adds villa homes

... in Sylvania Township ... Villas in Wingate Meadows have between 1,200 and 1,900 square feet, two or three bedrooms, and two bathrooms and have price tags between $200,000 and $260,000.

Sun, Oct 1, 2017 Blade editorial A better plan to fight blight

Making it easier for Toledo residents to buy and begin caring for some of the thousands of vacant lots in the city is a good strategy for combating blight.

The city has launched an interactive map designed to let prospective lot buyers look over the roughly 800 city-owned parcels for sale and apply online to buy them.

The map should streamline the process for shopping for and applying to buy the parcels that otherwise may go neglected or attract graffiti, trash, and other ugliness. The city owns more than 2,000 such lots.

The outlying areas are building villas and other stupidly-named dwellings while Toledo attempts to fight blight.

I know that the living thing is important to current and former Toledo residents. I've seen family and friends move out of Toledo in recent years, despite our best efforts to convince them otherwise.

We, however, continue to enjoy our very walkable area of West Toledo with numerous, small, local businesses located nearby, along with wonderful neighbors.

But if the Toledo living thing becomes less important for existing Toledoans, and if it remains unimportant for people living outside the city who are considering a move into Toledo, then I guess that we'll move to a villa in Monroe County some day. Villa? WTF?

Once again, quoting EconCat88:

"There was some lady from Sylvania Township that had plenty to say about the negativity of my videos, and I find it somewhat ironic that somebody from Sylvania Township would have anything to say about Toledo, because frankly, all you folks that have ran to the suburbs over the last 30-40 years, you’re actually as responsible for these problems as anybody."

"Why don’t you come down here [Toledo], buy one of these dumpy houses, refurbish it, move into it, and put Toledo back on the path to whatever your version of recovery is?"

Toledo needs area residents to move back into the city, the neighborhoods. A reverse migration.

"As soon as more jobs come, more people will see all it has to offer."

More jobs might help.

Oh no, a study.

Oct 6, 2017 Toledo Blade story titled Study shows Toledo among most distressed large U.S. cities

For several years, an economic malaise has covered metro Toledo’s central city neighborhoods, putting those residing there at an employment, educational, and physical disadvantage compared to the rest of the area.

This ongoing problem, which engulfs seven zip codes in the heart of town, places Toledo among the most distressed large cities in the nation, according to an annual study that seeks to find solutions to the dilemma.

In the 2015 study, metro Toledo was 14th among 100 large cities in economic distress. But last year it was fourth, and for 2017 it is fifth.

“Over the last five years Toledo has lost 4 percent of its businesses while other parts of the country are gaining businesses,” said John Lettieri, co-founder and senior director for policy & strategy at the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Innovation Group.

“Other places are creating high-wage jobs while Toledo is falling behind your state as a whole. There’s lots of poverty in Toledo, which can be solved by new business opportunities,” Mr. Lettieri said. “But Toledo is still at the bad end of that trajectory. It’s still losing businesses.”

The study claims that 51.8 percent of the city of Toledo’s 282,275 residents live in distressed zip codes.

Overall, the city had a distress score of 96.7, with Cleveland heading the list at 100.

By contrast, the Sylvania zip code (43560) had a distress score of 13.0, Rossford (43460) 14.2, Maumee (43537) 5.7, and Perrysburg (43551) 11.6.

“Usually when you see a distressed city, you see it distressed across the entire city. But Toledo has a lot of distress in the core of the city,” Mr. Glickman said. “Once you get just outside Toledo it’s doing pretty well. It’s sparked a divide within the city.”

"This positivity really started with The Mud Hens relocationing, that’s 15 years."

I disagree. In my opinion, the downtown positivity, at least in the Warehouse District, began much earlier than the Mud Hens move.

Excerpts from my 2007 TT post Maybe the best location in Toledo for a walkable area

I think it's a myth that the new Mud Hens stadium revitalized the Warehouse District. That area was changing for the better long before the Hens announced its move to downtown. And if the Hens had not located in the WD, the WD would have still improved. The Hens did not select a decaying or stagnant area. The Hens chose an already improving area. It was a smart move for the Hens that benefits both the Hens and that area of downtown.

I would say Kathy Steingraber and her Warehouse District Association gets most of the credit for revitalizing the Warehouse District. The Warehouse District started changing for the better in the early or mid-90's, at least.

The Toledo Warehouse District Association began in 1981.

The Mud Hens new stadium opened in 2002.

Excerpts from my September 2001 post made shortly after I moved into Toledo.

The Farmer's Market is outdoors... It's only opened on the weekends.

The Erie Street Market is indoors in an old [renovated] warehouse. There are all kinds of little businesses located here. Some are only open on the weekends and others everyday. I really enjoy going downtown and shopping at these places.

Downtown Toledo has really changed a lot in recent years and it's all for the better. More restaurants and businesses are taking up residence in old, remodeled buildings. It's good to see these great looking pieces of architecture being preserved.

The new Toledo Mud Hens baseball stadium, nearing completion, is only a block or so away from the markets and it will be open for baseball next year.

posted by jr on Oct 12, 2017 at 12:17:11 am     #  

We should probably give some credit to Hillenbrand and Zaleski for propping up downtown and the warehouse district when everyone else was fleeing and NOBODY would invest money downtown. I think the city even gave COSI away. H/Z gave the first home to a scrappy little struggling school for the arts to start. I remember how they worked with Marty Porter when the school was just a dream, basically. They poured tons of money into the only high end dining experience in downtown in Diva. Then hired Erika Rapp to work there. Then gave her a home in the Secor Building.
I remember when the only thing on St. Clair south of Monroe was the 20 N. Gallery. There was still an old meat market the band Damien rented to practice. it wasn't a cute coffee shop yet.

Jim and Eric were alone, unsupported, unfunded, and everyone thought they were crazy. The rest of us have now started to see downtown/uptown and WD the way they did all along. Visionaries. Just small ones. With no green lights.

posted by justread on Oct 12, 2017 at 06:32:00 am     #   4 people liked this

I worked with Jim and Eric when they opened Diva. At the same time, Dave Stambaugh opened Bottle Rocket. But, before all that, Jim and Pat Appold opened Maumee Bay Brewing Co. in 1995. Remember what the Warehouse district looked like in 1995? Why the heck did they do that?

posted by Toledostrong on Oct 12, 2017 at 06:47:19 am     #   1 person liked this

jim and eric did great work but were not alone... appolds, sparling and laurie's bakery, seyfang, fong, mark packo and virginia clark.... the produce businesses never left, walts auto glass, the speghetti warehouse.... i have a complete set of photos of the WHD from 1995; i will dig them out

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Oct 12, 2017 at 08:43:59 am     #  

and before that there were preservationists such as ligibel and speck and even the local history dept at the library working to stop demolitions and save these buildings and neighborhoods

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Oct 12, 2017 at 08:49:42 am     #  


a) The Mud Hens were not the first to recognize what downtown could and should be. Credit to ALL visionaries that preceded them. And those visionaries, risked on a scale that seems insane today. The relative ease and success of opening a small business downtown today, is a testament to the groundwork that all of those business people had, as it made downtown safe for the Mud Hens. Their move, however, marked the beginning of a new era. A bigger statement, singularly, than anything before or since. That fact, makes it an easy, if clumsy starting point of the real resurgence. There were people with greater visions, and risked more, but there is enough credit to go around.

b) the statement about 15 year, could easily be drawn back MUCH further, but the notion that these things take time, remains. This revitalization, perfectly encapsulated in the last decade by the Easy Street Thread, is full of starts and stops, recessions, near depression and success, only in the longview, do we start gaining perspective. This has been anything but a linear rebirth, and it takes hundreds, if not thousands of people, to contribute to raise an asset like this.

c) Living-Well, that was out of context. The Living part, was in reference to the article. It is really unimportant if Chicago Tribune writes that this is a nice place to live.That won't get people to move here. What JR discusses, is all true. Schools, crime, politics, infrastructure, availability, these are all things Toledo will need to reconcile. If we follow the trajectory of a Detroit or a Chicago, the people that flocked to the burbs, will undoubtedly return. A version of a city life, has an attraction, that "Perfectsburg" can't replicate, chipped chickens or not. Toledo IS a nice place to live, but there are plenty of people in bad situations, because the area isn't economically buoyant enough yet. Making the city more liveable, enjoyable and safe, will go a long way towards reversing that. We have a very complicated socioeconomic system, that even a company as large as Amazon, couldn't correct. It will take every bit as long to course correct as it took to get here.

posted by ahmahler on Oct 12, 2017 at 09:56:08 am     #   6 people liked this

It should be noted, the article in the Tribune didn't show up in the printed edition.

posted by upso on Oct 12, 2017 at 01:35:16 pm     #