Call it a group hug for the Sylvania community.
During a Valentine's Day event at Olander Park, officials from the city of Sylvania, Sylvania Township, and Lucas County touted cooperation, communication, and a kindred spirit channeled toward making the area sparkle as a fine place to live, work, and raise a family.
Officially dubbed the "We Love Sylvania" community focus forum, the event held in the Olander Park Nederhouser Community Hall highlighted growth, development, and the outlook for the city of Sylvania and Sylvania Township.
The forum, the first of several planned this year by the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce's community action committee, drew about 50 participants who listened intently to the three featured speakers: Tina Skeldon Wozniak, county commissioner; Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough, and Hugh Thomas, administrator of Sylvania Township.
Ms. Wozniak presented an update on the multipurpose arena under construction in downtown Toledo as a replacement for the old Sports Arena on Toledo's east side.
In two months, commissioners should have in their hands the final design on the project, she said.
The arena, which she said is really an amazing project, brings hope for revitalization in the area, and if revitalization occurs, it would be something of which all county residents could be proud.
The arena project is building on the success of Fifth Third Field, Ms. Wozniak said. That facility brings people to downtown Toledo 80 days a year, and the downtown arena would add 150 additional dates annually, she said, noting that people are already asking about what that would mean to parking.
Gary Madrzykowski, director of the Olander Park System, interjected that parking problems would be a dream come true.
It would be great, he said, if there were traffic jams in downtown Toledo at 10 o'clock on a Friday night.
The new arena, a project estimated to cost $85 million to $100 million, would give people one more reason to invest in downtown Toledo, Ms. Wozniak said, adding that nobody is saying that the new building in itself would be an economic engine, but it would bring hope for additional development.
The arena will be energy-efficient, and will provide "green-powered jobs," resulting in workers learning how to install the new technology and people learning how to purchase differently, she said.
It is time for county government to move forward and to be progressive, Ms. Wozniak said.
In general, she said, county government has to change, and she said Lucas County is in a downsizing position. "People want government to be smaller, and we recognize that."
At the township level, Mr. Thomas said officials are working to determine how to provide services and not raise taxes.
The township, he said, is looking at whether services are being delivered as efficiently as possible.
This year, he said, the township will focus on the quality of basic services. Sylvania Township, he said, likely is the smallest government for its budget size in the area. The township has a $28 million budget.
At the city level, Mayor Stough noted that Sylvania, which is marking its 175th year as a settled community, continues to attract new residents and businesses.
Mr. Stough noted that city council has rolled back taxes twice in the last two years, saving taxpayers a total of $670,000. That, he said, is a "great step forward" toward making the community more friendly.
Sylvania officials are continuing to make progress on the Monroe Street corridor project that would enhance the community, he said.
As a suburb, Sylvania is perfectly positioned, with its outstanding schools, wonderful recreation programs, lower taxes, and safe and secure neighborhoods, the mayor said.
"Sylvania is a great place to live, work, and raise a family," he said.