Over the years, thousands of young Toledoans considered Brenda's Body Shop a revered stop on the road from adolescence to adulthood. However, the time has come - though they might not like it - to knock the place down.
The downtown club that once fueled young men's fantasies as a topless bar now sits abandoned just beyond the left field stands at the new Fifth Third Field, set to open on April 9. While the retention of several older buildings around the ballpark's perimeter is appropriate, we see no redeeming social value in saving Brenda's and watching it crumble one brick at a time.
Two key factors suggest demolition is the best option here: The City of Toledo's building inspection department has declared the place structurally unsound, and nobody came forward with a specific, viable, economically solid proposal to fix it and renovate it for a new and compatible use, despite extensive advertising efforts by Lucas County.
From the taxpayers' point of view, the county commissioners' desire to tear the building down makes even more sense. A local businessman who plans to put a restaurant in the building next door at 519 Monroe Street wants to buy the Brenda's building from the county and then pay for its demolition as well.
Whether the structure can be taken down and the site cleared before Opening Day at Fifth Third Field is problematic. The Toledo Plan Commission's 3-0 vote to approve the county's demolition request has been appealed to Toledo City Council by activist Rick VanLandingham.
Council should waste no time in denying the appeal and moving ahead to continue the transformation of a dilapidated downtown neighborhood into something truly special.
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