Thursday, May 05, 2005

Downtown Debate

Millions are being invested in historic riverfront and Warehouse District residential & commercial projects. Across our river are first class restaurants and the most exciting economic development project in the Midwest - the Marina District. We have the best ballpark in the minor leagues, with a brand new ice hockey and concert arena coming soon. A landmark bridge that will keystone development around a beefed up industrial corridor, from renewed shipbuilding and a high tech coke plant on one side, to our international jobs magnet, our Jeep plant and world-beating workforce, on the other. Burgeoning small businesses, including tech and creative shops. Our Pulitzer-winning hometown newspaper. Owens Corning, Libbey and Pilkington retained. Public sector leaders working together for a change, and private sector leaders making massive new investments into regional economic development.

Downtown Toledo is the place to be. And we are upholding a long tradition of fighting hard to develop it.

Leadership in Toledo today is hard at work.

Toledo can be proud.

You are welcome to share your reaction on the blog and OI online.

Good analysis by Homer Brickey over at toledoblade.com.

25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with almost everything posted except the new hockey arena. The day the entire building is built and opens it doors then I will believe it, but there have been talks of a new arena since the goaldigger days.....lets not be another rossford.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After the steam plant, we'll be able to redevelop the O-I building too!!

It's a great facility with an excellent view.

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the spin in the world can't make O-I leaving look like a positive. It's like the commercial says "a city is known by the company it keeps".

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. Losing OI is a big hit for the city. Toledo's loss is Perrysburg's gain.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very, very dark day in the history of Toledo. There is a stark comparison to make. The last Fortune 500 company to threaten to leave Toledo was OC under Carty. What happened? They built a word class headquarters downtown with Carty leading the charge. I'm not a big Carty fan, but he's so much better than what we have under Ford.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a really good point. Now we do have a measuring stick between Toledo under Carty and Toledo under Jack. Carty gets results while Jack makes excuses.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

The comparisons between Jack and Carty are a little more complicated than that.

OI lost a lot of employees since they moved in to One Seagate...from 2,200 down to 360. The skyscraper was just too big and didn't suit their business culture anymore. They long dince acquired that land in Perrysburg.

Judge Mayor Ford on how he responds to this...it will make a lot more sense than Carty's.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

take it easy on the hyperlinks, dude.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other part of the story is that 4 or 5 more business like law firms and accounting firms are also looking at moving out of One SeaGate. That would be another 1,500 employees leaving downtown. If that happens, then the landlords say they are going to "mothball" One SeaGate. Toledo can't afford the negative p.r. of having its two tallest building totally vacant. I would recomend that rename both of them the "Jack Ford Towers."

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city leaders needs to have a vision--where is the vision? Do you know what the vision is?

Be reactive to situations in a rust-belt city is not going to move the city in the right direction--you have to be proactive. Do you know how to be proactive? It's important and it's logical to be proactive to understand what goes on in the city, to understand the residents' needs, and what amenities are lacking in the city--this will enable you to get a better grip on what to do in the city. Put the senseless politics on the side, put the negativity on the side, and put the self-interest on the side and ultimately focus on the fundamental basic needs of our city. Police, fire, schools, low taxes, clean streets, responsive city hall, balanced budget, and a CLEAR vision are the keys in making a city grow. This administration including the entire city council needs to get their priority straight--I cannot on this very day identify what is the priority among all of these council members or the mayor. What is their vision? Why are they being reactive instead of being proactive? Why are they more worried about what other party members spewing about when it comes to who's saying what? You are all elected by the people of Toledo and to serve the residents of Toledo--you've campaigned your goals, visions, and objectives and yet to fail to carry out that "vision" in office.

I sense very strongly to yell out on a rooftop and say it's time to clean house this fall for the rest of the council members and the mayor with his administration.

Finally being reactive as you are would suit you well once you find out you are being voted out of office. It's time for elected officials to be held accountable and start communicating to their residents. We need to know what's going on with Southwyck Mall, Marina District, Downtown Arena, how to balance the budget, and how to cut the high taxes. Better get the priority straight and start talking--we deserve to know what's going on because we are seeing a huge drain of businesses and residents leaving Toledo for the suburbs. BE PROACTIVE!

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I drove by one of those "Toledo Works" billboards on the way home. What a way to rub the salt in our wounds. Spend taxpayer dollars so Mayor Ford can feel better about himself while our number one company jumps ship out of Toledo. Those billboards mock us Toledoans who have to really work in the private sector for a living. "Toledo Works?" -- I guess only if you're a career politician with no sense of vision. I've been a proud Democrat for a long time, but it is really time to clean house at City Hall.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing worse would be if Toledo lost Jeep. What a second --Carty saved Jeep. Can you imagine the clowns in Jack's office trying to save Jeep. If Jack was Mayor during that time, Jeep would be long gone. Bring back Carty!!!

7:23 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

Looks like Carty has some secret admirers. I do appreciate the sharing, though.

We started talking to OI two years ago to keep them. When they moved into the building in 81 they had 2200 employees. Over the years it shrunk to 360. The place no longer fit into their business model. People can play politics with it if they'd like - but as it became apparent to us that this was going to happen, Ford & Council were proactive in reaching out to prospective tenants - and we may have announcements that more than make up for OI's departure.

Even our critics should be rooting for that success.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

I agree on the hyperlinks - a bit much.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like we've found the talking point...

"When they moved into the building in 81 they had 2200 employees. Over the years it shrunk to 360. The place no longer fit into their business model...and we may have announcements that more than make up for OI's departure."

Had the city worked with them, I'm sure they would have stayed around.

(And just because you don't like Carty, it doesn't mean that we can't. I think that Carty's admirers are anything but secret. They are down to earth folks that are tired of the politics and want straight answers from the top. The truth of the matter is that the mayor's office & the council are scared because if he decides to run, he will be their biggest threat.)

A lot of people are tired of Ford, and I think he'll be unemployed after the polls close.

1:12 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

"Had the city worked with them, I'm sure they would have stayed around." -- easy words to blast us with, but reflects poorly on your argument. We worked very hard with OI.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

And we are hardly scared of Carty's run - it would be delightful.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why screen the reply,if you allow people to post a reply and give their opinion,you should at least respect their thoughts and leave it up so others can read it instead of deleting it if you dont agree with it.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

I'm tolerant of opinions expressed anywhere - perhaps too tolerant of anonymous firebrands.

But its my blog and I'll remove a post that I think gets personal or hits below-the-belt. I'm interested in reasonable debate - otherwise why devote time & energy to this online.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Bob Scott said...

I am not proud of Toledo. I am ashamed. I was born and raised here. My family and my business are here. I love the location, the geography and the climate. (Okay, I pushing there. I love the climate in the spring.)

It breaks my heart to watch this town slowly die.

Every year, more people leave and fewer arrive. More business move away or die and fewer start up or move here.

Economic development projects are used to line the pocket of the politically connected and the economy fails to develop. I believe we have been attempting to revitalize downtown for 30 years now.

I am ashamed of my elected representatives. Toledo continues to decline and they continue to shift the blame. They blame the Republicans. They blame the national economy. They never blame each other. They one big happy family, a team, one might say.

I have a suggestion.

I suggest that we quit treating business like criminals. I suggest that we remove from office the officials who call responsible businesses criminals.

Why would any business move to or remain in this town? I consider it myself. I think; “If I work really hard, create hundreds of good jobs, provide valuable services to thousands of people, sponsor the best ballpark in the minor leagues and operate one of the few remaining premium office buildings downtown; they maybe some *&^%$ will call me a terrorist too.”

Mr. Szollosi, do you think it was wrong of Toledo Council President Louis Escobar to call Fifth Third Bank terrorists?

I have more to say about this, but I have ranted enough for today and would prefer to have a dialogue.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

Bob, thanks for the post and for seeking a dialogue. I, like the rest of my colleagues on city council, disassociated myself from President Escobor's comments. By supporting 5/3rd, I signalled my concern for the safety of their employees, the delivery folks, and pedestrians and motorists downtown. Saving the jobs also greatly mattered, as well. When I met with Bruce Lee he indicated to me that he met multiple times with the historic preservation community, and agreed to some of their facade and design considerations - which made sense to me.

Bob, you should be proud of Toledo, and not just for the reasons I mentioned in the initial post. Toledo, to me, is first and foremost the people who live here. We got really good people. And many of the politicians I work with are serving at the expense of making money privately, at the expense of family time, and have a genuine commitment to honesty and doing what's in the best interest of Toledo's people.

Some of us are willing to take responsibility too. Talking with critics often sharpens our saw.

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank,

We are proud of our city. It isn't a lack of pride in Toledo that drives people to be disgruntled, it has a lot to do with folks watching Toledo being bled dry by a self-serving local government and are basicly helpless to do anything about it. The local democratic party has grown fat and complacent and cares less about who they run for office. They sit pretty knowing that all their candidate needs is a "D" next their name at the polls to get elected. Carty learned that when he ran as a republican and promptly switched parties. An axe murderer could get elected in Toledo as long as he ran as a democrat. The LCDP should understand this and run a person with some ethics and integrity instead of just a recognizable family name.
I do give you credit Frank, it takes ballz to be a public figure and have a web page to hear the good and the bad. I didn't post here just to razz you, i post here because I DO care about Toledo and this is just one more medium I can utilize to do my part.
Thanks!
-Sepp

9:54 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Having recently been reminded of my, um... "age" by talking with some college students, I remembered that those under 20-25 may not really remember the very sad era for downtown in the 70s and 80s. We've come a long, long, way since then, and its nice to see.

Also glad to see the large number of responses to this post. Downtown still stirs up a lot of emotions for long time locals. It is the symbolic heart of our community. And like a heart, it is as vital as it is complex. Sure, not every elected official is working hard and maintaining a viable vision for downtown. But, I know that you, the Mayor, and many others ARE. Its too complicated for simple blog responses to honor.

Just hoping we can continue to at least maintain, if not grow the heart of the city. Sure, the burbs are newer and provide acre after acre of parking, but they lack the soul that can only come from the center of a large metro downtown area. As long as there is a market and cultural need, we should continue to seek progressive leaders willing to preserve our city's center by attracting business, arts, housing, retail, and entertainment. If you are not sure this is important or possible visit New York, Chicago, Pittsburg, Cleveland, Buffalo, Cincinnati, or Phillidelphia. All older cities in the "rust belt" that seem to have pulled it off and are better communities for it.

Thanks!

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Sepp said...

A sad era for downtown during the mid to late 80's? I seem to remember Portside being thee place to go on the weekends and it was for a long time crowded even on weekdays. Trying to get a slip at the dock was tough since it was always packed with boaters. Friday nights was "party in the park" and you could'nt go there without running into a lot of friends and family. A lot of great places to eat and spend some money. I think to this day that greed is what killed Portside. When the powers that be (were) saw the money comming into the vendors they raised rents and cut into the businessman's profits until one by one they could no longer afford to be there. Empty stalls attract no one.

1:02 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Sepp, master of complaint... but enslaved his suggestions are. With his ideas, would you go far? I offer you this rhyme to sing at your bar.

Quite the armchair quarter back is he, though in progressive thoughts he does lack, you must see.

Lines for Portside? I cannot abide, for when we showed up, we went right inside.

Party in the park was surely no lark. But, where did these folks go after dark? After the show, to the burbs they did go. Did not spend money downtown, Oh No!

So, Sepp I must leave without much reprieve for your ranting and slanting cause me to grieve.

11:48 PM  

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