I started personal blogging in August 2001. At that time, I installed a blog tool called greymatter on a free Web hosting site. When Toledo Talk began in January 2003, I stopped using the personal blog site. In 2003 or 2004, the free hosting site announced they would no longer be free, so I downloaded my blog postings.
Here are a couple postings I made related to the Erie Street Market back in 2001 and 2002. These are unedited except for one spot where I added a Web link within brackets. These postings contain numerous spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors.
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Sep 8, 2001
09/08/2001 Archived Entry: "Daze: Shopping downtown Toledo at the markets"
This afternoon I, along with my wife and stepdaughter, went to downtown Toledo to the Farmer's Market to get some produce. We also purchased some freshly made Italian bread from the Massina's located in the Erie Street Market.
Both places, located next to each other, are excellent places to vist. The Farmer's Market is outdoors, but with a roof over the tables of produce brought in by local farmers. It's only opened on the weekends.
The Erie Street Market is indoors in an old renuvated 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.
We visited the Toledo library, also located downtown, last weekend. A new building was added to the existing structure and it had its grand opening just recently. It's a really nice libary. I plan to spend a lot time there this winter.
I love going downtown. I keep trying to talk my wife into moving into one of the new condos or apartment buildings that have opened within the past couple of years. I also think it would be great to be a computer programmer in a business located in one of those cool old five or six story buildings located on one of the side streets, but downtown Toledo is not noted as a high place for high tech.
This fact, however, may change as a local group is trying to attract more high tech businesses to move downtown. The organization, known as ITANO, holds informal gatherings at a bar/restaurant once a month for high tech individuals to network with each other and to bring attention to Toledo and hopefully, get more companies to locate downtown.
It's fun to watch the transformation of the city.
Aug 22, 2002
08/22/2002 Archived Entry: "Owning my own cafe or pizzaria"
Last year, while Deb and I were wondering around the Erie Street Market, we thought that opening a small something or other in that building. But we realized there was no room for any new businesses. It was a nice problem to see, actually, that all available space in the market was being used. That was last year.
Before discovering the little coffee place [ My Daily Grind ] in Perrysburg, my midday retreats were at the Erie Street Market. I visited the Market this past Sunday. It was the first time I had been there in about two months. I was shocked at what I saw.
There is a lot of empty space in the Erie Street Market now. A year ago, the ends of the aisles and every corner had some kind of little business. It was cool. Now, it's about as empty as it was when I first visited the place, shortly after it opened. The Italian and Mediterranean places are still there. That's good. The guy who owns the Bronze Boar closed up shop in the Market.
The Market losing businesses hasn't been an overnight thing. I noticed businesses disappearing at the beginning of this year. It used to be, when a business left, another one filled its spot right away. I don't consider the Market a good place to open a shop now. Last year, I heard that the lease rates for space at the Erie Street Market were raised a lot, and I wonder if that's forced people out?
I think a cafe downtown Toledo, catering to the business crowd, might be okay. I love the cafe scene in downtown Ann Arbor.
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Old ESM threads
Excerpts from past Toledo Talk postings related to the Erie Street Market :
August 18, 2003 - Erie Street Market to be upgraded :
The city is looking at bringing in new vendors, improving the food bay and parking, and enclosing the outdoor stalls so farmers can sell their goods year-round.
From Mayor Ford's February 2004 state of the city speech :
One of the most common questions that I hear is: what are you doing for revitalization? There are challenges still before us. Southwyck, Westgate, Promenade Park, the Steam Plant and The Erie Street Market. I know there is a lot of concern about the Erie Street Market.
Past administrations ignored expert advice on how to design and operate a successful market. As a result the market has always struggled. A few years ago, the market was nearly full of merchants. Unfortunately many of those merchants were not paying their rents. The City cannot and should not subsidize merchant rents. That is an irresponsible use of your tax dollars.
We've gone back to the experts to propose options for the market. By April they will release their recommendations. At that time, we as a community will have some tough decisions to make, as it could cost millions.
April 12, 2004 - Save the Erie St. Market by wasting money :
[Realtor David] Long said the draft recommendations call for moving the food market to the Market Street end of the building, and moving the Libbey store into one of the other bays. It was not clear how the Antiques Mall and Frog Town Square would be affected. The redesign and relocation costs will run into the millions of dollars - money the cash-strapped city does not have in its capital improvements budget. The city's proposed capital budget for 2004 allocates $250,000 for the market.
The Erie Street Market opened in the former Civic Auditorium in May, 1997, after the city allocated $2.7 million in federal Housing and Urban Development funds and $1.8 million in city funds to restore the deteriorating structure.
... the problems to be addressed in the food market include lighting, the perceived walking distance between the food bay and the farmers market stalls, parking, and the stairs that must be climbed to enter the food market. [Mr. Long] said the expense would be paid for at least partially by higher rents, which would be justified by the increased public patronage of the reorganized market.
November 7, 2004 - Messina's Leaving Erie Street Market :
Louis Messina is closing his Italian Deli at the Erie Street Market, under the cloud of a court battle, unpaid rent, and more. Messina says the City of Toledo hasn't provided proper utilities and security for the Erie Street Market. He says his business and other vendors have suffered as a result of the city's lack of support. Messina's involved in his own dispute with the market. He'll be in court next week facing eviction. The city tells NBC 24 that Messina hasn't paid his rent in months.
February 15, 2005 - Trying to save the market :
The former Frogtown Square area at the Erie Street Market is being converted into the Civic Center Promenade, that'll be used for special events and other happenings. Mayor Ford says local artwork and historical photos of Toledo will be used to give the space a nostalgic look. Mayor Ford also says the market can't be forever supported by city tax dollars, and at some point if the market continues to struggle, it needs to be turned over to private hands.
June 24, 2005 - $90,000 loan paves the way for wine, meat outlets
June 29, 2005 - New Urbanism meeting recap :
Bill [Carroll] was asked about the Erie Street Market. Bill said, "I think it needs some professional help." It needs someone with experience in developing markets like ESM. He said there have been some discussions about its future. Don't want to make it a flea market. Bill said there is no plan right now for ESM.
Carroll was Mayor Ford's director of economic and community development.
March 6, 2006 - Erie St Market vendors take a blow :
All vendors in the market bay of Toledo's Erie Street Market were told yesterday that they have two weeks to move out to make room for a major renovation project.
May 4, 2006 - Insanity Is Doing Same Thing Again and Again and Expecting Different Results. :
Could this be the legacy of the Erie Street Market?
Change the name from Erie Street Market to Erie Street Marketplace, evolving the concept from an outgrowth of the farmers market to an inclusive indoor shopping village. Possible tenants that come to mind immediately are the displaced business at Westgate Village Shopping Center, like The Happy Badger, The Vineyard and Culture Clash, as well as others in similar situations across the Toledo area.
The giant box stores are upon us and if small businesses are to survive, they will be wise to create an attraction bigger than their individual selves, advertise together and have events to attract consumers. Here's a perfect chance to create that destination place.
Change the flea market layout, currently a blurred line of racks, tables and merchandise where shopping customers fear being bumped, to an indoor village of shops. Set off each with their own doorway, window and an artistic storefront. Many of our own local artists could submit their ideas, working with the individual owners. It creates a unique specialty store concept.
Add to the town atmosphere by putting up fun street signs and a town announcement board. Place a concert park gazebo surrounded by plant life on the platform next to the stage for daily music, lecture lunches and open forums. Open up a children's center nearby with short-term babysitting available for a fee. Open up the walls or ceiling for more sunlight.
Recruit more restaurants and cafes and compatible business. Implement a solid sales plan and package to ensure theirs and the Marketplace's long-term success. Utilize the second bay for consistent night time entertainment in the form of jazz, symphony, rock 'n' roll and alternative concerts for all ages. Continue to attract exhibitions into the same space. Spread out interests. Practice the three tools of creative smart sales: educate, entertain and sell!
June 18, 2006 - Mayor Has Self To Scream At For Economic Non-Development :
August 24, 2006 - Antique Mall leaving ESM
November 16, 2007 - Erie Street Market: Another 'Lesson' for Toledo
Thanks JR, for the "demise before your eyes", but per below, it ain't the first time...
If walls could talk, the Erie Street Market would tell a dramatic tale, complete with the names of such legendary performers as Elvis Presley and boxer Joe Louis. Since being built in 1913, this site has led many "lives", all sharing one common quality: the focus of public attention. The Erie Street Market is, quite simply, a star.
In 1913, the Erie Street Market was constructed as an open-air warehouse for wholesale fruit and vegetable farmers. To sell their fresh products efficiently, the farmers would drive their trucks inside the building, and let the day's bargaining begin.
In the 1920's, city officials turned to the Market when the public demanded a gathering place to hold conventions and attract people downtown. They renovated the facility and, in 1927, the Civic Auditorium opened its doors for the first time as a public exhibition and entertainment hall.
The Auditorium's stage, where customers now relax at café tables, was host to many famous entertainers and celebrities. Elvis Presley performed on that very stage in the early 1960's! People from Toledo and beyond came to the Civic Auditorium for trade expos, bridal shows, automobile exhibitions, flower shows and even boxing matches - including a match featuring Joe Louis!
Despite its long-time popularity, the Civic Auditorium began losing its crowds in the late 1960s to the Toledo Sports Arena and the Lucas County Recreation Center. Due to poor attendance, the Civic Auditorium was forced to close its doors. Even the once-thriving Market did not survive.
Nearly 70 years later, downtown Toledo experienced a renaissance, and with it a revival of this celebrated facility. The Erie Street Market was renovated and opened its doors in 1997 as the first indoor public market in Northwest Ohio. If only these walls could talk, the Erie Street Market would surely tell us: "I'm still a star."
Jan 6, 2008 Toledo Blade op-ed titled Playing the market which orders Toledo city council to give the mayor anything he wants, concerning the Erie Street Market.
The ongoing flap over the Erie Street Market is beginning to look more and more like a political game of "stump the mayor" being played out by some members of City Council, and the game-playing needs to stop
. How else does one explain the delay in voting an ordinance to provide management for the market through 2008?
Councilman Frank Szollosi says the ordinance "sets up the taxpayers to subsidize the Erie Street Market," but the slippery-slope theory, designed perhaps to strike fear in the hearts of tax-burdened Toledoans, suffers because the market is actually making money, more than since the city took over control from on Nov. 12. Moreover, it is projected to make a profit of more than $300,000 in 2008.
Sure, the city pays the market's utility bills to the tune of a little more than $300,000 per year but Ms. Hoffmann says she hopes to begin paying those bills by the end of 2008. And even though Mayor Carty Finkbeiner says he would consider selling for the right price, the nearly century-old Civic Auditorium is one of the more interesting historic downtown buildings and the city would be foolish to relinquish control of it.
The Erie Street Market, despite its recent travails under the stewardship of CitiFest, appears poised to fulfill the promise have long attributed to it
. Neither the interests of taxpayers nor future downtown development is served when Council uses it as a cudgel with which to beat the mayor.
The Blade is using the "historic building" card again, this time as a wretched excuse to subsidize a 10-year-old, multi-million dollar loser that has allegedly made money in the past two months. Remember, the Blade has not made a profit in around 25 years, so it's understandable why the Blade cannot grasp the concept as to why the city should no longer fund the ESM with tax money.
Jan 15, 2008 NBC 24 story titled Citifest $260,000 in the hole
NBC 24 has learned that Citifest, the non-profit agency that ran the Rallies By The River and other events at Promenade Park, owes vendors and creditors $260,000. Board Chairman Brian Epstein tells NBC24 that he still hopes the City of Toledo will Citifest for expenses the agency incurred while running the .
Carty took office, again, in January 2006, and Carty closed the Erie Street Market market bay in March 2006 for renovations. The Finkbeiner administration has had two years to develop a long-term, fantasy world business plan for the ESM. What in the hell have they been doing? Were those March 2006 renovations completed?
Nearly four years ago, Mayor Jack Ford said in his February 2004 state of the city speech :
I know there is a lot of concern about the Erie Street Market. Past administrations ignored expert advice on how to design and operate a successful market. As a result the market has always struggled. A few years ago, the market was nearly full of merchants. Unfortunately many of those merchants were not paying their rents. The City cannot and should not subsidize merchant rents. That is an irresponsible use of your tax dollars.
We've gone back to the experts to propose options for the market. By April they will release their recommendations. At that time, we as a community will have some tough decisions to make, as it could cost millions.
The Erie Street Market began its decline at least by 2003 if not earlier. So the city has had five years to create a viable business plan for the ESM.
Apparently, the same incompetent mindset that managed COSI into the ground and forced its closing has been in charge of the ESM for the past several years.
Apr 22, 2008 - Toledo Blade : Toledo reports tentative deal to sell city-owned Erie Street Market
Apr 22, 2008 - WNWO : Selling market or buying time? :
NBC 24 has learned, if the mayor gets his way, taxpayers will continue to shell out cash for the embattled market. Sources in the administration tell NBC 24's Aaron Brilbeck, that proposal includes having Tetra Tech manage the Erie Street Market for the next year, then the company could buy the market if the city agrees. The plan also calls for taxpayers to continue paying the market's $300,000 annual utility bill for the next year.
It's not a sale until the taxpayers are no longer funding the ESM. This smells like a classic Finkbeiner sham.
Nov 19, 2007 comment by Maggie Thurber :
Compilation of ESM managers - think this is a good listing, but feel free to correct any mistakes or time frames:
Carl Schmidt Feb. 2007 – June 2007 (I think)
Don Monroe August 2006 – Jan. 2007
Peter Kepler April 2006 - August 2006
Pat Nowak Sept. 2004-Nov. 2005
Daniel Madigan Nov. 2002-July 2004
Candace Baldwin May 2001-Sept. 2002
Julie Champa Dec. 1999 – May 2001
Carolyn Smithers Aug. 1998 - Nov. 1999
Don Schultz March 1998 – July 1998
January 1998 - Mayor Carty Finkbeiner fires the nonprofit group that managed the taxpayer-subsidized Market Place shopping center, home to the Erie Street Market and Libbey Factory Outlet Store. The Toledo Warehouse District Asssociation ran the shopping center under a contract with the city.
Judy Paschalis Jan. 1997 - Dec. 1997.
Basically, Carty is hiring a new ESM manager with a one-year contract. The name of this new manager is Tetra Tech. After one year, Ms. or Mr. Tech has the option to buy the ESM for real.
This is NOT a valid ESM business plan. This is clear evidence that Toledo City Council should vote today to stop funding the ESM. If Ms. Tech truly wanted the ESM, Mr. Tech would have bought the ESM last fall or last winter or would buy it today, instead of applying for the ESM Manager position.
Apr 24, 2008 - Toledo Blade : Tetra-Tech to pay $4.2 million for Toledo-owned property, market
The California-based Tetra-Tech will pay Toledo $4.2 million for 27 city-owned parcels, including the Erie Street Market, as part of its plan for a $300 million riverwalk development near downtown along Swan Creek, Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said Thursday. The company will pay $1.2 million for the Erie Street Market and $1.8 million the city’s water distribution building at 401 South Erie St.
The mayor declined to say if the city [taxpayers] would continue to subsidize the market’s operating expenses. The 2008 city budget allocates $287,370 for electricity and $14,191 for heating.
Enlarge artist rendition of development
Tetra Tech is part of the engineering team working on the Toledo Waterways Initiative, the city's $450 million program to upgrade sewage and wastewater treatment facilities. The first phase, begun in 2002, cost $200 million and involved constructing new treatment and storage facilities at the Bay View wastewater treatment plant, new sewage pumping stations in Point Place, and an equalization basin in Brookford Park in South Toledo.
Apr 26, 2008 - Toledo Blade : Erie St. Market business plan maps changes
Apr 29, 2008 - Toledo Blade : Toledo Council to weigh $4.2M Tetra Tech deal :
A proposed $4.2 million deal
to sell Toledo-owned property along Swan Creek downtown for an eventual river walk development could face tough scrutiny today from some councilmen who think the city might shoulder too much risk.
The agreement with Tetra Tech Inc., of Pasadena, Calif. - which last week announced plans to buy 27 parcels of city-owned property for the project - requires only a "deposit" and lets the company pull out of the deal for up to one year.
"I believe that the $5,000 earnest money is insufficient," Councilman Lindsay Webb said. "I would like to see $300,000, which would cover the cost of the utilities."
Mr. Collins said the agreement "totally protects the buyer" and has minimal protection for the city.
Mrs. Shultz said she has a lot of respect for Tetra Tech because it performed well for the city in the past. "But that $5,000 doesn't sound like a lot of money for us to maintain [the market] for a year," she said. "I don't think we should tie it up for a year and maintain it if they are not going to take it. What if we get another buyer and this has tied our hands?" she asked.
Finkbeiner administration officials yesterday said the deal actually would be for 25 parcels, and includes $1.8 million for the city's water-distribution building at 401 South Erie St., $1.2 million for the Erie Street Market, and "a number of smaller properties."
There are an additional 27 city-owned parcels listed in the purchase agreement on which Tetra Tech would have the right of first refusal, meaning it would have the option to buy the parcels at the price offered by another buyer.
The proposed purchase agreement gives the company one year to purchase the 25 parcels and entitles it to rescind the agreement for any reason. During that year, the city [taxpayers] would continue to subsidize the market's operations through utility payments - budgeted to be $287,370 for electricity and $14,191 for heating this year.
Council could vote May 6 on the purchase agreement and legislation to keep the market operating with the help of city funding.
As if any doubt exists as to how Council will vote. The words above are token concern by the council members. I predict it will be at least a 9-3 or 10-2 vote in favor of taxpayers continuing to fund the market.
Disturbing words from my district council member who must have only moved to Toledo last year and is unaware of the history of the ESM :
"This one-year window is fair and it's typical of businesses doing their due diligence," Mr. Waniewski said.
"To me, that [$5,000] is token money that you have to have put up, but I don't use that as a gauge for their commitment or lack thereof."
He also said the option to pull out of the deal is typical.
"If they didn't have that option, they're not very good business people, since they have to protect their investments and the investments of other people on this project," Mr. Waniewski said.
What a jackass. $5000 is token money? How many millions of taxpayer dollars have been sunk into the ESM already? What about the other business plans? The Ford administration had one or two new plans for the ESM. And Carty had a new plan for the ESM back in March 2006. For Olander Tom, that's over two years ago.
Why would Ms. Tech want to pull out of the deal? If Miss Tech is interested, then Mr. Tech should buy the ESM. Otherwise, Council should find its spine and its brain and stop funding the ESM and put it up for sale. And if someone else buys the ESM, and then later Mrs. Tech wants it, then Ms. Tech will have to buy it from the new owner or buy it from the city if it's still for sale six months or a year from now.
This alleged "deal" that Finkbeiner hail-married a week before the temporary ESM funding was suppose to end is so transparent in its meaning. It's a scam to enthuse the brain-dead council and citizenry into continuing to support the ESM with taxpayer money until a real buyer or sucker some year wanders along.
Why doesn't Tetra Tech buy the properties outright and get started with its project now? Why the one-year "rent-to-own" option? Feels like the Marina District project. Eight years from now, the fifth Swan Creek/ESM developer will be announced with yet another artist rendition of the dream project.