Sunday, Nov 19, 2017
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Letters to the Editor

To the editor: Toledo's bid on Amazon meant to continue momentum

As mayor of the great city of Toledo, I’ve been aggressive in attracting and retaining companies in our community that provide well-paying jobs for Toledoans. 

In the last three years, this approach has led to the creation of more than 4,000 new private sector jobs and $3 billion dollars of investment. Our accomplishment is recognized nationally by the Chicago Tribune, Urban Land Institute, and Site Selection Magazine as one of the top “metros” in the country for business attraction and growth.

Progress and positivity are necessary to rebuild Toledo. I believe in Toledo, in its people, and its heart.

That is why the city contacted Amazon about building a future with us.

On July 25, the city submitted a proposal to Amazon in an attempt to attract a new distribution facility to the Glass City. This proposal is separate from the city’s HQ2 proposal and was submitted well before Amazon released its HQ2 request for proposals in late September.

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Our decision to submit a proposal to Amazon came in late September. Regional Growth Partnership of Northwest Ohio’s decided not to submit a proposal because it felt nowhere in northwest Ohio qualified. The Blade published an article on Sept. 29 that confirmed our information:

“The growth partnership recently contacted Matt Deptola, the JobsOhio person gathering HQ2 bids within the state, to tell him northwest Ohio would not submit one.”

The city reviewed Amazon’s HQ2 request for proposals, which specifically states that the company has a preference, not a requirement, for metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people. 

After learning of this decision from our regional partner, the city decided to construct its own proposal and submit directly to Amazon.

The city did contact Detroit in late September to discuss opportunities to support their bid, but we received no response. At that time, we decided to go ahead with our own proposal.

The city of Maumee contacted Toledo on Oct. 5 to request that their proposal be included in Toledo’s submission. Toledo agreed to partner with Maumee to submit one proposal for the Toledo region since the Regional Growth Partnership decided not to participate. 

After weeks of working together with Maumee, we submitted the joint proposal on Oct. 13. Toledo’s proposal specifically addressed information requested by Amazon. Maumee chose not to notify Toledo that it would also submit a proposal through the Regional Growth Partnership.

In preparation for its proposal, the city contacted a few large land owners within Toledo that could accommodate Amazon’s site criteria. At the time we worked on the proposal, the property owners were not ready to include their property in Toledo’s submission. 

The city included the former Southwyck Mall property in its proposal for the following reasons:

1. The property met Amazon’s initial phase one site requirements and could potentially be expanded for future phases.

2. The city owns the property and is able to be competitive with the acquisition cost and work directly with the company.

The city decided to share the joint proposal with the community in an effort to rally the region to attract Amazon. Most U.S. cities, including Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, did not share their proposal with the general public.

It is up to Amazon to decide which of the 238 proposals submitted is the most competitive.

The city can come together and build excitement around the proposal. We are building on our success, and this is just the beginning.

MAYOR PAULA HICKS-HUDSON

City of Toledo

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