Toledo is growing and revitalizing, becoming what it will be for the next generation. But as Toledo redevelops, it must be careful not to lose the historic structures that have made it what it is.
Now, even more than in times of decline, the city must commit to preserve its history. For historic buildings and neighborhoods are in jeopardy if Toledo plows forward without care.
A new citizens group devoted to protecting historic structures has sprung up as part of the campaign to save St. Anthony Catholic Church in the Junction neighborhood. “Preserve! Toledo” plans to incorporate as a nonprofit organization and advocate for the preservation of the city’s historic structures.
As the group is now working with neighbors who are determined to spare St. Anthony from demolition, “Preserve! Toledo” wants to empower other Toledo residents as they work to save the places that matter to them.
Too many important historic buildings have already been lost in Toledo. Historic homes, theaters, churches, department stores, and other landmarks fell victim to neglect or redevelopment, especially in the latter decades of the 20th century.
Through the years of declining population, lost industry, and urban decline, protecting the city’s historic assets was not often a priority. Now, the city is poised for a comeback with jobs, business, and residential development, and even urban dwellers moving into Toledo.
As these changes occur, more recent developments have valued Toledo’s history. ProMedica restored the Toledo Edison Steamplant for its new headquarters, the Mud Hens revitalized older buildings along St. Clair Street to create Hensville, and developers are restoring the long-empty Fiberglas Tower, now the Tower on the Maumee.
As the city continues to remake itself, developers must save the historic structures that contributed to Toledo’s vibrant past. One way to do so is to declare a moratorium on the destruction of all public and significant buildings. Nothing comes down. If a building has no immediate new use, it can be mothballed until a new use arises.
Local developers, along with elected leaders and community groups would do well to join forces with “Preserve! Toledo” and help the nascent group become an strong advocate for the city’s historic landmarks.
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