Tuesday, May 17, 2005

North, South, East, West

With all the downtown talk, its important for folks to know we're also working to get things done across the city.

Met today with council and administration staff, along with a few citizens from the Southwyck area, to help develop the game plan for revitalization along South Reynolds. In this instance I believe Mayor Ford and mayoral-candidate Ludeman are working toward the same goal: new retail investment, and the sooner the better. My colleague Karyn McConnell-Hancock & I are contributing time, ideas and support. For instance, I introduced a successful model for citizen & business participation based on the Northland Alliance which focuses on Morse Road in Columbus. My focus is not only on Southwyck - though as the anchor its the critical piece - but also on the small businesses from Airport south to the Turnpike.

This weekend Mayor Ford and ED Director Bill Carroll are off to Las Vegas to work the big national retailers convention. I expect them to meet with the owners & representatives of Southwyck and potential investors. The latest news about Dillards being willing to stay at Southwyck, within a new "open air" mall design, should cheer everyone concerned. The good work of concerned citizens and the City has gotten the attention of the developers.

Earlier this year I went out to Northtowne on news of its closure. Again working with the Administration's ED staff, we found homes for some of the displaced businesses - including Mr. Big Stuff now cooking sweet southern 'que at the Erie Street Market. You need to get there. Northtowne is now becoming an industrial/commercial development site - potentially tying into Jeep parts suppliers.

Sunday night I couldnt make the Westgate neighborhood meeting - though I did speak to District Councilwoman Grachek before and after to discuss what's happening there. I understand some of the meeting was to discuss university parking options (keep the greenspace!). I'm involved some behind-the-scenes discussions right now about the whole Westgate area, and the active citizens from that great Toledo neighborhood are correct in having their voices heard on the coming development.

Finally, the Marina District. The first half of the project, the remediation, continues - as do discussions with Pizzuti and potential investors into that valuable strip of riverfront land. Council is expecting the feasibility study within a few weeks - and we are eager to execute the gameplan for the second half.

Toledo should be ready for more exciting announcements, more development, more choices, and more jobs.

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