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Published: Sunday, 5/15/2005

Decision needed on where to put arena

Seven molasses-coated Lemmon Drops to get you through the Star Wars hype:

  • It's a question that hovers over Toledo and, because everyone seems content with letting it go unanswered, plays right into the city's apathetic tendencies.

    Should the new arena be built in East Toledo or near Fifth Third Field?

    Until that question is answered, definitively, one of the most important projects in Toledo's short-term future will remain rudderless.

    If the project is privately financed, then the location should be left up to the developer. A more likely scenario, I contend, would have Lucas County trying to duplicate the success of financing Fifth Third Field, which, in retrospect, was a $39.2 million no-brainer.

    Yes, Toledoans voted overwhelmingly in 2001 to give the green light to an arena on the East Side. But, a developer pushed for the measure. That developer, Frank Kass, bowed out long ago. Had Mr. Kass' project been on the west side of the Maumee River, near the baseball stadium, it's not a stretch to assume voters would have overwhelmingly approved that measure too.

    There has got to be a way for this paralysis-inducing issue -- East Toledo or near Fifth Third Field? -- to make the ballot.

    And keep putting it on the ballot until one side receives 60 percent of the vote. Or, better yet, make it a best-of-3 series of elections.

    Only after reaching a community consensus regarding the arena's location will we be able to focus on actually getting the job done.

  • For some reason, I've always thought of Westgate Village Shopping Center as "trendy." (With Boogie Records and Thackeray's Books having closed their doors, I realize perception is not reality.) That's why I found the story about Westgate's owners trying to recruit Costco -- a big-box retailer with membership requirements -- to be such a head-scratcher.

  • Is "Medical University of Ohio" rolling off your tongue yet?

  • In this space last week I suggested that Louisville, which 2 1/2 years ago adopted a city-county form of government, appears poised to blossom the way Indianapolis did after it switched to a "uni-gov" system. Then, to no one in particular, I asked the date of the next summit to discuss "regionalism" in our area.

    Loyal reader Bob, who lives in Sylvania, says suburban communities are parasitic toward Toledo.

    "This is the Toledo area," he said, "not the Maumee area, Perrysburg area, or even the Ottawa Hills area. As goes Toledo, so go we all."

  • Toledo is worse than Cleveland and Dayton for gridlock? Sorry, Texas Transportation Institute, but I have a hard time believing those conclusions from your national study.

  • I spent some time last week thumbing through a 1960 relic, pollster Stan Odesky's thesis ("An Analysis of the Opinions of Toledo Residents Concerning Toledo") for a University of Toledo MBA. While his thesis shows that some things never change, here's one that did: 48.9 percent of those surveyed considered themselves to be a "downtown shopper," compared to 41.5 percent who said they were a "shopping center shopper."

    Mr. Odesky said that before he retires, he would like to do a follow-up to the questions he asked 45 years ago.

  • Farmer Jack supermarkets, we hardly knew ye.



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