(The following notes were originally posted at ToledoTalk.com at this link.)
About 40 people attended Tuesday's meeting at Downtown Latte, which has been hosting the meetings on the last Tuesday of each month for about a year now. At the meeting were Bill Carroll, Keith Wilkowski, Frank Szollisi, Ford Weber, business owners, members of special interest groups, people affiliated with Toledo GROWS, and curious residents from different parts of Toledo.
Here's the gist of Tuesday's meeting, bullet-point style. Nothing fancy.
Bill Carroll was the main speaker. The organizers try to have a special guest or two for each meeting. Bill said the downtown is attractive to retiring Baby Boomers and 20-somethings.
The price tag for cleaning up the power plant on the east bank is expected to be $19 million.
The old salt pile on the west bank along Summit Street is being moved to make room for development in that area.
There have been recent talks about more development in the Swan Creek/Erie St. Market area.
Bill talked a little about the arena. He justified the need for this most recent feasibility study by saying, "Don't want to make a $100 million mistake."
No site selected for the west side if that's where the arena goes. The price of land acquisition on the west side is a major issue.
Bill said there will be a meeting this week about the Madison Building and talks are beginning again with the owner of the fiberglass building.
Monroe Avenue for the Arts is being used to try to attract musicians and other artists downtown. City conducted a study about Monroe. City will meet with all building owners on Monroe to see what can be done to attract artists.
Environmental concerns were brought up: trash along the river and under the high level bridge and after downtown events, runoff, not enough recycling since bars throw away their glass bottles.
Toledo received a Smart Growth Grant. 1000 vacant lots in Toledo. City has hired a consultant from Chicago to help Toledo make use of these lots. Consultant said he wished they had acquired vacant lots in Chicago for green space 20 years ago when land was cheaper. Could turn some of Toledo's vacant lots into parks and community gardens.
Bill said P-burg and Maumee are losing population to Monclova and Michigan. Next week, Lucas County and Toledo should be under one economic and development umbrella.
Some businesses in Maumee's Arrowhead Park are asking about moving to downtown Toledo. I think Bill said Mayor Ford is working on space availability. Apparently, Arrowhead is too congested. Supposedly there are plans for a new exit ramp for Arrowhead Park that's to be constructed within 10 years.
There was a suggestion that all of downtown Toledo offer free wireless Internet access. Attractive to news businesses and young people.
It was said that one of our greatest assets is the University of Toledo. It's landlocked. Need to find a way to connect UT with downtown Toledo. Get more students downtown like in Ann Arbor and Bowling Green.
It was suggested that the UT Law School be moved downtown, and have UT play their sports in a downtown arena. If UT trustees aren't interested, then get new trustees. It's a public university. UT receives taxpayer dollars. UT should be more open to being a part of Toledo's downtown growth.
One at the meeting spoke with a trustee or trustees, and he believes UT has a suburban attitude and desires to keep its world on campus.
There was some mention about the Technology Corridor. I think Bill said something about a new hire that will push the project forward, blah blah blah.
The arts and UT. Apparently, UT would like more studio space concentrated in an area such as Monroe St downtown.
Light rail mentioned as a possible form of public transportation like what's used in Dublin. It would be a way to connect UT to downtown. Also suggested that TARTA do more.
Idea suggested: A Swan Creek walking path from the Erie Street Market to Swan Creek Metropark.
Bill 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.
A restaurant owner brought up the problem with the high cost of utilities in Toledo. It's an obstacle for attracting business to the city. No way to answer the utility cost problem at the meeting. Bill said, "At the end of the day, utilities are tough to deal with."
Bill spoke and took questions for an hour. We took a 10-minute break and then resumed. Some people left during the break.
After the break, a planner/developer mentioned the idea he's pitching to the city to make Toledo a major destination attraction for extreme sports by building an indoor event center and more that could house stunt biking, skateboarding, snowboarding, and many other activities.
Indoor ski slopes exist in Madrid and somewhere in England. The planner said more young people are involved in extreme sports than in so-called traditional sports like baseball, basketball, and hockey. Major sponsors are attracted to extreme sports.
The culture that surrounds extreme sports would also need to be developed by combining technology and entertainment.
There was talk about the downtown amphitheater and park project that McCloskey is opposed to and Szollisi supports.
Szollisi is a regular at the New Urbanism meetings.
The meeting lasted two hours. It was interesting to hear all the ideas. A lot of people are obviously positive about Toledo.created by jr on Mar 19, 2007 at 07:14:41 am
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