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Monnettes' Market plans expansion in Maumee

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Kathy Vasquez, from Toledo, looks for several pumpkins to buy at Monnettes' Market.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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A longtime green space in Maumee could soon be home to the newest Monnettes’ Market.

The Toledo produce-market chain recently submitted a bid to purchase city-owned land in the 200 block of Conant Street in the uptown area. The Lucas County Auditor values the parcel at $207,400, but the offer is for $306,000.

Co-owner Marc Monnette and his real estate broker Keith Brown approached city council Monday.

“We think this raises the quality of life for the citizens of Maumee,” Mr. Brown said. “The business will also bring foot traffic. We expect 500 customers a day. That traffic will bring extra business to the surrounding businesses.”

There are three other existing stores in Toledo, and the Glendale Avenue location is just three miles from the proposed spot in Maumee. Last year, Monnettes’ asked people on Facebook where they would like to see a new store.

“Our first choice was to be in other cities because this is so close to the Glendale store,” Mr. Brown said. “We did some research, and [Mr. Monnette] thought he’d lose 15 to 20 percent of his business if we went to Maumee. Then business increased this past year by about the same amount. We came back to this location because of the proximity to Perrysburg.”

The proposal calls for a new facility between 7,000 and 9,000 square feet. Mr. Monnette said the new market would create 30 to 40 jobs, mostly for high school and college-aged people.

The land was purchased in two pieces by the city in 1978 and 2004. Maumee tried to attract new business to the area, but nothing viable came along.

A public forum was held in December, 2015, to discuss options for the space. City Councilman Tracey Elmore listened to a recording of the meeting and said 15 of the 18 people who spoke were in favor of a green space.

Council voted 5-2 shortly after to make it a park, but progress stalled. Mrs. Elmore is the chair of the parks and recreation committee, and she spent 40 to 50 hours researching options. She released park renderings donated by Buehrer Group Architecture earlier this year, but council voted in January to take the issue out of committee.

“It bothered me in the sense that not only did the people and city council want it to be a green space, but it had been voted on to be a park, and the city dropped the ball for two years and did not go forward with planning any improvements,” Mrs. Elmore said. “I was basically cut off before I could even start. I was disappointed I was unable to do my job.”

Another public meeting will likely be held in March, Mrs. Elmore said, adding she will now focus on the potential market’s viability.

“No matter what goes there, I want to make sure it’s successful and safe,” she said.

Food Truck Fridays have become popular uptown in the spring and summer, and trucks have been using the same space for parking. Ms. Elmore said relocating the trucks is one potential hurdle.

Contact Jay Skebba at: jskebba@theblade.com, 419-376-9414, or on Twitter @JaySkebbaBlade.

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