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Published: Friday, 8/13/2004

Alliance hints rally against port levy


It might be considered a political shot across the bow.

An alliance of neighborhood groups that wants a piece of the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority's levy for its own projects said it might rally against the ballot issue if left out of a final proposal on how to spend the money.

Voters will decide Nov. 2 if a 0.4-mill port levy, about $7.30 for a $100,000 home, should be renewed. It raises $2.5 million, which the port authority and a sister agency, the Regional Growth Partnership, split for job creation programs.

But a move has been afoot to reorganize efforts, and the Toledo Community Development Corporation Alliance, members of which generally use federal block-grant money to improve old neighborhoods, wants to be taken seriously.

The alliance's 11 CDCs cover a geographic area that includes a substantial portion of the county and so has electoral muscle, Terry Glazer, the president, pointed out at a news conference yesterday.

"We have the grass-roots support of people in the neighborhoods that represent one-third of the people," he said. "[If left out], as a democratic organization, we would get together and decide what we are going to do."

The alliance supports a proposal from a working group of area officials that has been meeting all year. The plan includes taking $350,000 in port levy proceeds to fund competitive grants for the members of the CDC alliance.

At issue for many is the future of the growth partnership, which uses about $1.35 million of the levy money to market and create jobs in an 11-county region, including Lucas County.

Some elected officials and port authority board members want the partnership changed so people know levy money is being spent in Lucas County - the only county where the levy is assessed.

Toward that end, the working group, in addition to supporting $350,000 in grants for the CDC Alliance, also suggested a new name for the growth partnership: The Toledo-Lucas County Regional Growth Partnership.

The new group would have the dual function of being the main player in Lucas County for attracting businesses and working as a regional marketing force for the 11-county northwest Ohio area. The group would be accountable to a council of local leaders in Lucas County.

Contact Christopher D. Kirkpatrick at: ckirkpatrick@theblade.com

or 419-724-6077.

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