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Published: Thursday, 8/26/2004

UT chief asks council to back research, technology corridor

University of Toledo President Dan Johnson asked Toledo City Council yesterday to support his proposal for a research and technology corridor.

Members of council's economic development committee assured Mr. Johnson that a formal resolution would be introduced and would have no trouble passing.

The proposed corridor is a 10-square-mile area of West and South Toledo bounded roughly by Secor Road on the west, Glendale Avenue on the south, Woodsdale and Upton avenues on the east, and Central Avenue on the north.

Institutions in the zone include UT's Bancroft Street and Scott Park campuses, Toledo Hospital, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo Zoo, and WGTE-TV broadcasting offices.

Mr. Johnson said a high-speed rail or "people mover" connecting all the partners would increase collaboration, and likely would attract investors, researchers, manufacturers, and millions of dollars in research grants.

The university, Toledo Area Metroparks, Wood County Park District, MCO, and the city of Toledo have been acquiring 11 miles of railroad right of way, some of which is still active.

"In a very short period of time, we will begin seeing a changed identity for the city of Toledo as a center for science and technology," Mr. Johnson said.

The corridor would connect with the downtown business district, about 3 1/2 miles away, by some kind of transportation system on Dorr Street.

"This is, undoubtedly, the largest project or initiative in the history of the University of Toledo," Mr. Johnson said.

He said he was not ready to ask for money. But he indicated the project probably would require a tax increment financing district to allow property taxes to be used to pay off development bonds.

He said a critical element of all research and technology parks, including Silicon Valley in California and the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, is a research university. He said UT recently passed the $30 million level in annual research funding.

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