A new arena belongs in the East Toledo Marina District, District 3 Councilman Bob McCloskey said yesterday during an east-side rally that drew about 200 people.
“One of the reasons there is any talk about building an arena downtown is because there isn't the political power on the east side,” said Mr. McCloskey, who is seeking re-election.
Mr. McCloskey is being challenged in the September primary election by Martin Okonski and Tiffany Adamski. Ms. Adamski is endorsed by the Republican Party; Mr. Okonski is an independent. The top two finishers will advance to the Nov. 4 general election. District 3 includes East Toledo and part of South Toledo.
People who attended the rally at the River East Plaza on Main Street were treated to hot dogs and soda, paid for by the Toledo Food Center, which is to open there Sept. 4.
In addition to mobilizing support for his re-election and a proposed East Toledo arena, Mr. McCloskey urged people to register to vote. The Lucas County Board of Elections collected about 40 voter registration cards during the event.
While addressing the crowd, Mr. McCloskey predicted that East Toledo would become the envy of the city. “People all over Toledo look down their noses at East Toledo,” he said. “We are going to make East Toledo the place to be.”
Anthony Brown, 37, who has lived in East Toledo his whole life, spoke highly of building an arena on his side of the Maumee River.
“If you build it on the east side, people will come,” Mr. Brown said. “It's going to help every business over here and spruce up the economy.”
Mr. Brown pointed to several abandoned storefronts on Main and said, “all of those would be filled and this neighborhood would look great if they build an arena here.”
Ms. Adamski, a 24-year-old college instructor, showed up at the rally to gauge what kind of support there is for her opponent. After the rally, Ms. Adamski said she wants to be certain that the Marina District is planned properly - without a parking lot on “prime riverfront property,” she said.
The Marina District could include an arena, retail stores, apartments, and condominiums, a marina, and offices in a 125-acre waterfront site between the Martin Luther King, Jr., and the I-280 bridges.
At-large Councilman Frank Szollosi, a Democrat running in the November election, also was at the rally urging support for an east-side arena.