Article published Tuesday, May 31, 2005
I was born in East Toledo and I appreciate the position of The Blade and others that East Toledo deserves more, specifically related to the Marina District. That said, I'm not sure an arena in the middle of that project would really benefit that project or East Toledo.
Has the existing arena really done much for East Toledo? Would the new arena in the middle of a quality mixed-use development result in an enhanced project? Would it produce real spin-off benefits for East Toledoans?
I'm not convinced. Especially if the arena had large parking lots offering exquisite riverfront views - to cars! Too much emphasis is placed on an arena that might offer marginal benefits for East Toledo.
We are aiming too low.
Let's start talking about making the Marina District the best possible project. Let's ensure that it results in real investment and real improvement for its East Toledo neighbors.
Let's start talking to those neighbors about how to work with them to do that. Let's prove that East Toledo is not just Toledo's poor step-child.
The Marina District should be developed as Toledo's premier mixed-use neighborhood. It should offer a range of housing from high end to starter homes and quality rentals.
It should help us keep and attract high-end residents and young people. It should offer a range of commercial and retail development that serves the new residents as well as existing residents of East Toledo and other Toledo neighborhoods.
There are proven development techniques and tools, successfully utilized in other cities, that require linking the benefits of such projects to their surrounding neighborhoods.
Why can't we use those techniques here? Let's not limit the discussion to where to put an arena - let's talk about what will really benefit East Toledo.