Multi-million dollar project could have generational impact on City of Toledo

Published: Jul. 18, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A multi-million dollar project in downtown Toledo could have generational impact on the City.

The project has an enormous footprint as it will cover 38 city blocks in the Uptown section of Toledo with a focus on the Junction neighborhood as well. It will stretch from 13th Street to 21st Street and from Adams Street to Monroe Street.

As part of the project, water and sewer lines will be replaced, more than 1,000 trees will be planted and nearly 200 LED lights will be installed.

“The key focus is Uptown and improving infrastructure so we can support private development and new companies coming here,” said Brandon Sehlhorst, the Director of Economic Development for the City of Toledo.

Sehlhorst calls this a generational investment.

“What’s bigger than the infrastructure investment is all the things that will happen as part of it, like creating new innovation opportunities within the community,” said Sehlhorst.

A big part of the project cost is being covered by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. It’s called a RAISE grant which stands for Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, and it was a first for Toledo.

“This is the largest competitive grant the City of Toledo has ever been awarded,” said Sehlhorst. “It’s 40% of the project cost.”

In addition to Uptown, the focus will also be on the Junction neighborhood.

“This grant is all about people,” said Sehlhorst. “Trying to connect people who unfortunately have experienced disinvestment in their neighborhoods for decades to the opportunity we’re focused on creating in Uptown.”

Sehlhorst says the construction of I-75 decades ago separated the Junction neighborhood from Uptown. The Dorr Street overpass will also be updated as part of the project.

“The improvements you’ll see are softening the streetscape, making it easier and safer for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross 75.”

Part of the City that’s recently been renovated is serving as a template.

“Our vision for this is that every street in Uptown looks as good as Summit Street, if not better,” said Sehlhorst. “Summit Street set the standard and we believe that standard should carry across downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.”

The City is also applying for other state and federal innovation grants.

“There’s a lot of money out there now,” said Sehlhorst. “We are being strategic and intentional in applying for it so we can bring money to help citizens and industries evolve and expand to be competitive.”

The project is scheduled to start in 2026 and be completed by 2032 with a total cost of about $53 million.

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