Can you "rebrand" a neighborhood?
Organizers in North Toledo think so. Last night 150 people attended a meeting in the Zablocki Senior Center to kick around new names for their part of the city.
Two North Toledo improvement groups - the Lagrange Development Corp. and NorthRiver Development Corp. - are behind the renaming effort.
The two organizations, which are in the process of merging, are following through on the recommendation of a neighborhood study that calls for giving North Toledo a new name.
Terry Glazer, Lagrange Development's executive director, said the goal is not to eliminate familiar and historic names such as "Lagrange" and "Vistula."
"We're not trying to get rid of them. We want a better name for all of North Toledo. How dull is 'North Toledo,'•" he said.
Emilio Ramirez, principal of Woodward High School, came up with the idea of using "Polaris" in the new name. Polaris, the North Star, has a positive connotation, he said. It's also the name of the high school's polar bear mascot.
"North Toledo" conjures up images of riots and crime in the minds of many, and dropping it would be best, he said.
So three names using Polaris were considered last night: Polaris One, Polaris Flats, and Polaris Circle. None of them, however, attracted much enthusiasm.
Another contender was "ONE Village," with the first part of the name standing for Old North End.
Other names suggestedwent nowhere. They included "Skyway North," "United North Village," "United North Area," and "Rainbow North."
Sonja Cruse, an Everett Street resident, was so partial to ONE Village that she planned to order T-shirts with the name on them.
"ONE Village means we've lived here for years but not all of us are from here. Yet we're all one," she said.
No single name captured enough popularity to rise above the rest.
No matter, Mr. Glazer said, the process would continue. Before a name could be adopted, it would have to be established that it was legally available, he explained.
Meanwhile, Lagrange Development and NorthRiver Development, under the aegis of United North Community Development Corp., have been awarded a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will help develop a strip of land along the Maumee River in North Toledo. The funds will be used for soil testing on 300 acres bounded by the Veterans' Glass City Memorial Skyway on the north, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge on the south, Summit Street on the west, and the Maumee River on the east.
Mr. Glazer said the environmental assessment was "a good first step" in the development of the riverfront property, which is across the Maumee from the planned Marina District. "This side of the river is especially important," he said. "It has so many assets."
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