Back in mid-October, when ProMedica Health System announced plans to rebuild and expand its West Toledo campus, a project that could cost between $300 million and $400 million, we saluted the decision as a welcome commitment to Toledo in the face of speculation that the company might instead relocate the medical center campus to Arrowhead Park.
We believed then, and still do, that the project will be an economic and psychological boost to a city that Toledo Hospital has called home since the 1920s.
So we hope that City Council's questions of ProMedica amount to a thorough safety check, and nothing more, before committing the city to a relatively modest $1.5 million in street improvements and widening over the next five to six years. The state also is looking at a new I-475 interchange nearby, which would seem to be a good idea with a new and expanded medical center in the neighborhood.
It would be a shame if, in the name of crossing all the “T's” and dotting all the “I's,” the ProMedica organization were motivated to re-examine the option of moving its flagship medical facility to the suburbs, on land it acquired two years ago at Arrowhead.
By any measuring stick, the city's $1.5 million investment is certain to leverage a substantial economic shot in the arm for Toledo, one that will be largely financed by ProMedica itself. Construction should produce 1,600 jobs, and another 400 new, permanent jobs await upon completion. However, if the Arrowhead site should be reinstated as a result of Toledo ambivalence, some 3,700 jobs, and a whole lot of tax revenue, would be lost to the city.
Council certainly has a role in all of this, and it has an obligation to make sure the city's interests are protected. But not to the point of provoking the ProMedica board to reconsider its impressive commitment to keep Toledo Hospital in Toledo.