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Published: 10/1/2009

Wilkowski: Marina is joint opportunity

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

One way to spur investment in Toledo's Marina District is to offer a piece of its future tax revenues to neighboring cities that invest in it, Democratic mayoral candidate Keith Wilkowski said yesterday.

Standing next to a newly built roadway through the undeveloped East Toledo acreage, Mr. Wilkowski said Toledo has invested millions of dollars and still has no jobs or vertical development to show for it. He proposed converting the 128-acre project into a joint economic development zone.

"We need to have suburban communities literally invested in the growth and development of Toledo, and bring to bear their resources and joint marketing efforts to jump start development," he said.

"The success of the Marina District is critically important to East Toledo and the entire city," Mr. Wilkowski said.

Mr. Wilkowski said neighboring cities could contribute services such as marketing or public safety to qualify for a piece of the city's 2.25 percent income tax from an occupied Marina District.

His opponent in the Nov. 3 election, independent Mike Bell, questioned the need for additional public safety from neighboring communities, noting Toledo already has mutual aid agreements.

But he said the need for cooperative agreements with Toledo's neighbors is a central theme of his candidacy.

"It could be a very good bargaining chip at the table when we talk about reaching out regionally," Mr. Bell said.

"Both of us have talked about this and he's throwing different projects out but it's the same thing I've been talking about since day one," Mr. Bell said.

Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough said, "We're interested in listening and getting all the details. I like the idea of regional cooperation." He said turning the Marina District into a county-run project might be a better approach.

Oregon Mayor Marge Brown said investing Oregon resources in the Marina District would be a hard sell, but still worth looking into. She said Toledo could work through the Lucas County Improvement Corp. to make it a regional asset.

Mr. Wilkowski claims expertise in tax-sharing zones from when he was Toledo law director in 1990-1994.

In August, Mr. Wilkowski proposed a tax-sharing agreement with Maumee to develop the former Southwyck Shopping Center property.

Since 2001, the city has acquired and cleaned up the former industrial and commercial area bounded by the river, Main Street, I-280, and Front Street, but still is waiting for private development to begin.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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