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Published: Saturday, 10/15/2005

Gardner says update needed on arena plans

State Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) yesterday called for an update for state legislators on the status of Toledo's plans for a new arena.

Mr. Gardner said the state has had $7.5 million allocated for an ice arena as part of the Marina District since December, 2002. But he said this week's announcement that the Marina District won't include an arena could put the money at risk.

"If [a west-side location] is what the community wants, I think we can get there, but we want to see a concrete plan," Mr. Gardner said.

Mayor Jack Ford on Tuesday announced a new design for the 125-acre Marina District project along the Maumee River in East Toledo that does not include an arena, as originally planned.

Mr. Ford said the community and corporate leaders support constructing the arena in the downtown area. He said a committee headed by his director of development, Bill Carroll, is expected to recommend a site and a financing plan soon.

Tom Crothers, the mayor's chief of staff, said he believes it will not be a problem to have the General Assembly amend the state's capital budget.

He said Mr. Gardner assured him he will support the city's request to change the legislation to reflect a new location of the arena.

Mr. Gardner said that if the money continues to sit unused, pressure will grow from other parts of the state to allocate the money for other uses.

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