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Published: Friday, 7/11/2003

Construction of arena must begin soon

Enough of the maddening, petty politics already. Everyone agrees, especially voters and the consumers who spend money at the current Toledo Sports Arena, that a new arena in Toledo is not only needed, but would continue the momentum gained by the opening of Fifth Third Field.

The Gladieux family has been stringing along hockey fans for years with promises to upgrade or replace the existing facility, only to do nothing but stand by and wait for local taxpayers to foot the bill. The unfortunate demise of the Rossford facility bought even more time for those politicians to debate the question of downtown vs. East Side and could cost Toledo hockey fans an opportunity to watch AAA-caliber hockey.

Three things can be counted on if construction of a new arena doesn't begin soon.

One, the current facility will continue to age and become an even more inadequate facility for paying customers and the talent that performs there.

Two, the likelihood of the Toledo Storm, the Sports Arena's main tenant, ceasing its operations or moving out of town increases.

Three, voters who approved measures to go forward with the Marina Project will be less likely to put their faith into future requests for public funding.

While Ray Kest's idea seems to be a solid effort, it is two years too late. The voters have spoken. It's time to end the silliness and get on with building the arena in East Toledo. If some type of construction doesn't begin soon, the momentum of downtown revitalization will be gone. And with the way our local politicians work, it'll be decades before that momentum can be recaptured.

NORM KUJAWA

Villamar Road

When I voted for the Marina District development on the East Side of the river it was my understanding that this included a new arena. Now I hear Ray Kest is stating that if the arena is built on the East Side his office will have nothing to do with it.

How dare he make such a statement? Since when does Ray Kest have the right to make this decision? If he can refuse to go along with the decision of the voters, then why did we bother to vote?

We have waited far too long for development to continue along the riverfront, so I was pleased to see it show up on the ballot.

How na ve I was to actually think that once we voted for something it would actually happen.

The best location for the arena is right where it has always been, on the East Side of Toledo. Not only would an arena on the West Side create far too much congestion, but I suspect that without the arena the Marina District development would never take place.

I certainly hope the city stops dragging its feet and someone steps forward soon to lead this long-needed development to a conclusion.

SUE MOSS

Ingomar Avenue

Lucas County Treasurer Ray Kest is at it again. He's about to risk your tax-generated money on a facility for entertainment. First a baseball stadium and now a sports arena.

It seems to me that, as Lucas County treasurer, Ray Kest should only be concerned with investing the money in his care for maximum return consistent with an appropriate (high) level of safety.

Ray Kest as a private citizen, or as one aspiring to higher political office, may well be concerned with promoting and taking credit for entertaining Toledo. But when it comes to managing our money, personal objectives should never intrude.

I've heard Mr. Kest's ploy defended: At least he's putting forth a plan for financing. But he's also putting forth your money to be risked more and to earn less interest than money that can be obtained anywhere else.

In effect, Ray Kest appears to be proposing to buy his pleasure and self-aggrandizement with public funds.

In the name of good government and to avoid the very credible charge of conflict of interest, Mr. Kest should desist.

PETER S. MILLER

Marin Drive

Your July 3 editorial asked the question: “Why undo a plan that even the voters have approved?”

The last we've heard from the East Side Gang is that plans had been scaled down, and that the proposal was now a building in the 8,000-seat range. That is not what we voted for. If Ray Kest's plan for a downtown arena is judged to be sound financially, it should be put into action with no more delay. A metropolitan area the size of ours deserves a first-rate, decent-sized, logically placed arena.

The current Sports Arena is an embarrassment. Tim Gladieux has gotten fat at the Toledo trough long enough. He obviously has no plans to give back. He was very quick to announce grand plans for his own arena when it appeared that Rossford was going to finally give the area a nice alternative. Whatever happened to his plan?

The logical place for an arena is downtown, on the west side of the river, near the convention center, near the hotels, and more accessible to the majority of area residents. Fifth Third Field is classic. I hope Toledo's decision makers do not fumble on the arena question.

JOHN GRADY

Ogden Avenue

The recent arena conversation has problems with security of the structure, destruction of green space, and myopic vision. Rather than suggest a “shoehorn” approach to bail out an undersized, ill-conceived convention center with poor management, I humbly suggest the following best solution.

Retrofit the SeaGate Centre as the University of Toledo Law School or much needed retail shopping as proposed by numerous groups. Build a 14,000-seat arena with a properly planned convention center on the Marina District site. The synergy would be dynamic across the entire downtown, both east and west bank.

The Warehouse District and numerous other downtown projects would not be compromised. Toledo could finally reach its full potential! Forget the parochial, monopolistic, noncompetitive view and build this vision now.

FRED KUTZ

Earl Street

Because of all the budget cuts, our governor has seen fit to start taxing a number of services in Ohio. I am licensed by the state in two of these newly taxed services. I have been a barber for 30 years and a massage therapist for 14 years, with close to 1,000 hours of advanced therapy training.

I am appalled to think the governor of this state believes that the therapy that I do is more of a luxury than a perm and haircut. I would ask Bob Taft to look in the faces of people with chronic pain or who have found no relief through surgery or traditional medical treatment and tell them their treatments are a luxury.

Many people have come to us as a last resort only to finally find relief from their pain, allowing them to continue to function and work so they can pay their taxes.

I am licensed by the Ohio State Medical Board just like physical, occupational, speech, hearing, respiratory therapists, etc. In my office we do not do spa treatments, we do therapy.

Tax us; tax the entire medical profession. Oh, yes, but please don't tax that “non-luxury” item, the perm!

BARBARA GRUMMEL

In Touch Therapy Center

Monroe Street

When all else fails (regarding Saddam Hussein), offer a bounty of $55 million. If the facts were known, the military action in Iraq is costing billions. Let us also not forget about the “bad guy” in Afghanistan, including his henchmen. Diplomacy, U.N. inspections, and war have not resolved the problem.

THOMAS W. GARCHER

Barbara Drive



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