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Published: Wednesday, 7/7/2004

Toledo: Main Street greets new home, executive director

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Toledo Central City Main Street program, which has helped jump-start the revitalization of several neighborhood commercial corridors over the past three years, has a new home and soon a new executive director.

The Main Street Program, modeled after a project created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was funded by the Local Initiatives Support Corp. to help bring neighborhood commercial districts back to life through technical assistance and support.

The program was started with a $300,000 grant and run by the Toledo Community Development Corporation Alliance. Earlier this year, the Toledo Design Center took over the program. Terry Glazer, president of the Toledo CDC Alliance, said the move will allow the alliance, a coalition of many of the city's community development corporations, to concentrate on funding and operations issues.

"It makes sense for [the Main Street program] to be with the Toledo Design Center," Mr. Glazer said. "The Main Street program was a very specific program and I think it's a better fit. The alliance needed to focus more on things like funding, finding other revenue sources, operations and programs."

Danielle Steinhauser, the former executive director of the Main Street program, recently left to join Poggemeyer Design Group in Bowling Green. Mrs. Steinhauser said, though, her reasons for leaving were personal and not because of the change.

"I'm still a member of the [Toledo Design Center Main Street] board said Main Street is alive and well," Mrs. Steinhauser said. "I'm pregnant and I had to think long and hard before I left because this is really an exciting time for the Toledo Design Center. I will still be involved and available to train the new [executive director]."

Robert Seyfang, chairman of the Toledo Design Center task force, said notices went out this week for a new executive director, who will also serve as coordinator for the design center. He said Mrs. Steinhauser's insight has been critical to the center's effort to take over the Main Street program.

Mr. Seyfang said the design center will be eager to help neighborhoods and community development corporations in its quest to redevelopment central city business districts. He said he hopes to have a new executive director on board within a month.

"The neat thing about Main Street is that it's grass roots," said Mr. Seyfang, a retired architect. "We're helping the neighborhoods do their thing. These are the neighborhood's ideas and we're enabling them to do it."

The Main Street Program kicked off in Toledo after the Lagrange Development Corp. won praise for its streetscape revitalization on Lagrange Street initially funded nationally by LISC. Since then, Neighborhoods In Partnership have helped improve Adams Street in Uptown, NorthRiver Development Corp. has begun a program to spruce up the Galena Street business district, and the Ottawa Community Development Corp. is creating plans for the further development in the Monroe Street/Auburn Avenue area.

The Main Street program will be one of four projects with the design center. Mr. Seyfang said he would like to give the Main Street program more exposure to what it has accomplished.

Hugh Grefe, senior program officer of the Toledo office of Local Initiatives Support Corp., said LISC has committed $25,000, left over from the original Main Street grant, to help with projects. He said the Toledo Design Center is committed to good design and should be able to help community development corporations make impact in neighborhoods.

Contact Clyde Hughes at:

chughes@theblade.com

or 419-724-6095.



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