In lighter news, the Ol’ Swamp is pulling through.
Never let it be said that we are grumpy doom and gloomers. To the contrary, we
always look at the bright side. When there is one. Sure, the global pandemic that washed
through Froggy Bottom was rough. We mourn the death toll and those who continue to live with nagging symptoms. We grieve for the businesses that continue to suffer, the workers struggling to make ends meet.
But it looks like we’re turning a corner. While it’s unfortunate that some businesses couldn’t survive, it looks like plenty adapted, worked through difficulties, and came through. As vaccinations are widely available and restrictions are slowly eased, there is a collective sigh of relief. Pent up demand for social interaction is blowing the doors off.
One year after
We gotta admit, we were pessimistic
at first. Just when downtown T-Town was trending rapidly upward, it all shut down. No Mud Hens, no Walleye, no in person bars or restaurants, offi ce workers sent home, sidewalks devoid of activity save for wind blown debris. Dire times indeed.
Yet here we are over a year later, and Spring is a-poppin’! Mud Hens’ Opening Day is coming fast, a month late but welcome nonetheless. Not only have most businesses pulled through, there are new bars and restaurants opening all over downtown. There are so many new building projects in Toledo we were named a top destination for business investment by an international development magazine.
The long awaited Marina District development is a smashing success. International Park will soon be redeveloped by the Metroparks. The old post office on Jefferson will be a tech startup hub. Fort Industry Square will soon be a bee-hive of activity, and the empty parking lot behind it will allow better access to the riverfront.
The Vistula neighborhood is getting a facelift after a century of decline. Buildings all over downtown and uptown are being redeveloped into residential and commercial space. From Library Square and other buildings on Madison to the Pythian Castle and adjacent buildings on Jefferson, from Amazon at the old South-
wyck site to specialty manufacturing at the old Jeep plant site and across from
the new one, big money is fl owing into town.
Some of this investment comes from local sources as local businesses expand into new digs. Promedica has also been a major source of redevelopment momentum. But much of the new investment comes from outside Toledo. Investors from elsewhere have discovered our small corner of the world as ripe for a renaissance, and they want in.
And later this summer, folks from all over the US and Europe will be here for the Solheim Cup, a premier international event in women’s golf. We can showcase our present trajectory and future potential to worldwide investors. This can attract even more private investment from around the globe.
A modest proposal
Things are looking up, no doubt about it. Oh, and we forgot to mention the one hundred eighty eight million ducats about to be dropped into the City of Toledo’s bottomless pit, errr, budget by the federal government. That roughly equals an entire good year’s worth of income tax collection.
What will Wade and Co. do with such a massive windfall? Will it be used for large scale one time programs, like a year or two of youth programming? Will it be used for structural change that is sustainable in the long haul? Or one time capital projects that would likely never be funded otherwise, like the long overdue new municipal courthouse?
Or will Wade and City Council fritter it away by nickels and dimes on small pet projects?
We fear the latter. Here is our modest proposal. Give it to someone who knows how to multiply its investment potential. Give it to Promedica. They’ll know what to do