The University of Toledo
Urban Affairs Center
Leading Economic Development
Lee Fisher (photo: Dan Miller)
Dr. Dan Johnson (photo: Dan Miller)
The Economic Value of the Toledo Public School System
Dr. Neil Reid, UAC Director, and Dr. Oleg Smirnov, Dept. of Economics, have completed an analysis of the Return on Investment and economic value of the Toledo Public School System. TPS, the largest school district in Lucas County and the fifth-largest district on Ohio, has an annual budget in excess of $400 million. It is one of the most valuable public enterprises in Lucas County with a economic footprint that spreads beyond the city limits in the wider local economy. From the Executive Summary:
Altogether, for every dollar of locally-funded public education, the economy receives between $4 and $5.60.
UT Press Succeeds by Thinking Small
What started small in 2002 at the UAC has continued in the same vein: the UT Press publishes small volumes concentrating on local histories of Toledo and northwest Ohio.
The Toledo Blade recently published a feature on the UT Press that highights this mission. According to Barbara Floyd, press director, "Nobody has a focus the history of our community. These books are important for that reason. Who else but us would publish a book on the history of people with disabilities in northwest Ohio? We can publish books about a region that we know."
University of Toledo forms task force to assist on policy issues related to water quality
UAC Director Dr. Neil Reid has been named to serve on "a task force to assist local, state, and federal officials on policy issues affecting water quality, especially that of troubled western Lake Erie", as noted by the Toledo Blade on August 29, 2014:
The University of Toledo Water Task Force was formed in response to this summer's toxic algae bloom that made tap water unsafe for 500,000 customers of the city's water-distribution system, but its scope apparently will not be limited to that. "As a public research university, Ohio taxpayers and U.S. taxpayers have invested in our researchers focused on the Great Lakes and water quality, in general. We have a tremendous return on that investment to offer, and this task force is an effort to create a single portal that governments and organizations can look to for answers and expertise," Frank Calzonetti, a geography professor who is UT vice president for government relations and chief of staff to the president, said.
Fighting Urban Blight in Toledo
UAC Faculty Research Associate, Professor Dan Hammel of Geography & Planning, appeared on the WGTE 30 show Deadline Now: Fighting Blight in Toledo to share his insights on this issue. From the WGTE web site:
“Last month, The Blade published an eye-opening series about blight in Toledo. While not close to the scale of Detroit's devastation, Toledo has more than its share of abandoned homes and businesses. If you live or work in Detroit, there is a strong temptation to roll your eyes when people talk about blight in Toledo. For us, it would be easy to assume that there isn’t any blight to speak of here. That would be a wrong assumption.”
UAC Hosts Economic Development Meeting
The Urban Affairs Center hosted a luncheon for Neil Gibson, Director
of the Northern Ireland Center for Economic Policy (NICEP) at the University of
Mr. Gibson is an Eisenhower
Fellow (www.efworld.org) and is on an eight week tour of the United
States visiting various cities across the country to learn more about economic
development programs and initiatives. Attending the luncheon at The Toledo Club
were a number of local leaders who are engaged in various economic initiatives
in northwest Ohio. Dr. Neil Reid, UAC Director, will have follow up
conversations with Mr. Gibson to explore collaborative opportunities between
the UAC and the NICEP.
Left to right: Neil Gibson (Northern Ireland Center for Economic Policy), Dan Johnson (President Emeritus of University of Toledo), Ford Weber (President/CEO Lucas County Improvement Corporation)
Snyder Memorial, location of the UAC
The Urban Affairs Center is an applied research unit of The University of Toledo. UAC is located in the Snyder Memorial building within the Department of Geography & Planning. Our web site is hosted by the UT Center for Creative Instruction. Our mission is to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life of Toledo and its metropolitan region. We strive to make this site useful and accessible to the our community, and we welcome your comments.
Recent UAC Studies
Click an item title to view/close it. Archived UAC news items are here.
- Finding Food in Northwest Ohio
Ken Meter of Crossroads Resource Center has completed a study for UAC, one which suggests that improving northwest Ohio's local food system could have a huge impact on the region's economy:
... our analysis of the region's farm and food economy shows that $3.6 billion leaks out of Northwest Ohio each year as residents farm and eat, since farmers farm at narrow margins to produce commodities for export, while consumers eat food imported from far away.
... localizing the food economy will be the most effective way to turn the $3.6 billion leakage into economic opportunity. Already, Toledoans are taking the first steps required to create this transformation. A solid core of growers and consumers have formed a vibrant farmers' market, which helps Toledoans build strong connections while trading in locally produced food.
The study details how local growers are, among other methods, experimenting with "tilling new vegetable farms and testing innovative greenhouse technology that has been developed in Belgium and Holland". Local officials are exploring the possibilities of reclaiming urban brownfields for food production, and "the Northwest Ohio Food Council is poised to create a more strategic vision that will encompass the growth of effective clusters of food-related businesses, more focused attention to the food needs of low-income residents, greater coordination across counties, and more sustained innovation."
- Toledo-Lucas County Public Library: Economic Value and Return on Investment
The UAC and Toledo-Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL) jointly initiated a study to determine the economic impact and the return on investment (ROI) of the Libary on northwest Ohio. According to the Executive Summary from the study, TLCPL provides 2.86 Return on Investment (i.e., for every $1 spent, the Library returns $2.86), and the economic value of public services provided by TLCPL in 2011 is placed in the range of $118M to $136M per year.
Read the full report and the appendix.
- Urban gardens boost quality of life, expert says
Mr. Ken Dunn, who runs a recycling an urban gardening group in Chicago, believes that "Communities such as Toledo can build value through urban agriculture", according to the Toledo Blade in their April 26, 2012 article. Mr. Dunn spoke at an event co-sponsored by the UAC.
- “A State of Inequity in Ohio”: Additional Press Coverage
UAC's study on Funding and Service Disparities between Municipalities and Townships in Montgomery County, Ohio has garnered more press coverage, this time an online article in The Press asserting that "Township taxes could go up, if state acts on UT study".