Mayor candidates talk spreading economic growth beyond downtown

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TOLEDO - (13abc, Action News) - Promedica's successful move downtown bringing perhaps a 1,000 jobs to the city core is just the latest example of big splash economiic development downtown.

From the Hens to Hensville, restaurants to loft apartments, downtown is growing.

But some believe development outside the downtown are is much slower.

Democrat Wade Kapszukiewicz says Toledo will never turn the corner without focusing on neighborhoods.

Bad roads, not enough police and yearly budget deficits are keeping neighborhoods and corridors from seeing growth, he insists.

He says a focus on those issues will ensure development spreads citywide.

Kapszukiewicz says, "Cities that cannot address those basic needs are not going to succeed long-term, no matter how many jobs Promedica brings downtown."

But in industrial parks far from downtown, companies like Wrap n Ship are growing, from five employees 12 years ago to about 20 today.

Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson says neighborhoods have not been forgotten and uses Wrap n Ship as an example. She says the company used special city loan programs to expand and create jobs.

She says others have as well. Hicks-Hudson insists roads are getting fixed, revenue is up and the budget is strong. She also says industry and non- profits are teaming with communities to spur growthg.

"We are toward improving the lifes of resident where they live and where they work," The mayor told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann.

Republican Tom Waniewski says downtown development and neighborhood develop need different approaches. He would spark development around neighborhoods with something he calls the District Improvement Grants (DIG).

It's about a million dollars divided evenly through the six council districts.

Money that could help improve signage or start very small businesses in places we don't hear about.

And Waniewski says he would start a Toledo Business Exchange where job creators can maneuver the city's application system.

Waniewski says, "To triage through our online process where they can get their permits, find out what zoning they need to do, see what health inspections are necessary. I think that's what drives economic development in general."