Downtown master plan relies on riverfront park as city focus
TOLEDO - Toledo is looking toward the future, and Tuesday, city council is supporting a new downtown master plan.
It was developed by the 22nd Century Committee made up of community leaders after extensive public meetings and interviews with stakeholders.
What came from the study was a clear sense that the Maumee River has been important to our economy today and historically, but will be vital in the future.
In order to continue the vigorous rebirth of Toledo's downtown, the study says focus on parkland.
The study, released late last year, says, Toledo is "on the cusp of a renaissance."
By expanding parkland along both sides of the river, from the High Level Bridge to the Glass City Skyway, the 22nd century committee believes the Maumee will become the new city center, not a dividing line.
Back in 2009, Toledo wanted to develop the Marina District. Now, it's value could be as greenspace.
Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, who supports the master plan says, "while (the Marina District) is prime real estate, it's even better because it allows for the people who live and work downtown to be able to get outside."
But the study, which you can read here at http://downtowntoledoplan.com/report says greenspace is just one step toward a robust downtown.
More living space, about 1600 units.
More office and retail space, about 1.1 million square feet.
Better mobility through wider sidewalks and more room for bikes.
More parking, especially along Summit Street for easier access to the riverfront parkland.
And about 650 more hotel rooms to encourage visitors to Toledo attractions.
Councilwoman Lindsay Webb believes this is a way forward to get more people living ... working... playing and visiting downtown.
Webb says, "It's the idea of taking a strategic approach so that we can figure out where these resources can come from and them trying to accomplish as much as we can."
And there are strategies outlined to accomplish the goals. Money could come from foundations, government grants and of course private sector investment.
The city will have a role as well but any cost comes with a benefit.
Councilman Rob Ludeman says that benefit is "More people walking, more people shopping, more business downtown,."
And more sales and income and property tax revenue.
Making Toledo a more liveable, workable, enjoyable city.
Having a master plan with public and private partnership could make it easier to get money to support this concept.
Some on council believe we could have this plan fully implemented in 10-years.
Read the complete Downtown Toledo Master Plan: