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Published: Thursday, 10/24/2013

Latest forum takes mayoral candidates Bell, Collins to East Toledo


Toledo's mayoral candidates mixed it up East Toledo-style in their latest political forum today in the East Toledo Senior Center. 

Mayor Mike Bell and Councilman D. Michael Collins, both political independents, addressed questions that focused on declining property values, the demolished Ravine Park pool, and the future of the Marina District.

Mr. Collins won applause when he vowed that East Toledo would not be neglected under his administration.

"East Toledo is part of Toledo and not a stepchild who identifies itself with a Zip code," Mr. Collins said. He criticized the Bell administration's demolition this summer of the former Ravine Park pool.

"You will see a new dimension. You will see a private-public partnership to bring recreation to East Toledo, West Toledo, North Toledo, and South Toledo," Mr. Collins said, promising a "meaningful recreation program." He suggested he would have used the $5 million surplus that Mr. Bell often cites to build a new Ravine Park pool.

Mayor Bell said East Toledo was given the same attention as other parts of Toledo and said Ravine Park Pool was demolished because it was an attractive nuisance that "could have got some kids killed.

"I have no regrets on that portion of it, but we do need to figure out a way to recreate the things that we take down," Mr. Bell said, emphasizing that the city is still recovering from a devastating recession, and that every project that citizens want done takes money. He reminded his listeners that they have told him that they wanted to not raise taxes, but to maintain services.

He said the administration's focus has been on rebuilding the police and fire departments, and said the city has torn down 135 houses in East Toledo, rebuilt "seven or eight roads," and built a new fire station.

Mr. Bell predicted that a planned Great Lakes museum will open soon in the Marina District. The event held inside the East Toledo Senior Center drew about 50 people. It was co-sponsored by the Metro Press.

Contact Tom Troy: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.

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