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Published: Thursday, 6/14/2007

Toledo residents offer arena input

Amber Hawkins asks about access for the disabled and offers some suggestions for the proposed downtown arena project during a public forum at SeaGate Centre. Amber Hawkins asks about access for the disabled and offers some suggestions for the proposed downtown arena project during a public forum at SeaGate Centre.
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John Gage of Perrysburg wants to see Toledo's strong hockey history represented in the new downtown sports arena.

Mary Chris Skeldon wants the arena to offer healthier food options, including ethnic dishes.

Amber Hawkins wants world-renowned entertainment acts like Alicia Keys or Earth, Wind & Fire to perform at the arena.

These and several other ideas were presented at the first of three public forums to collect community input on the architectural design and layout of the $85 million multipurpose arena project.

About 40 people attended last night's meeting.

The others will be June 19 in Oregon City Council chambers and June 20 at the Sylvania branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, also beginning at 6 p.m.

Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop said it's a real possibility that one of the ideas from last night or next week's forums will be integrated into the design. He said many of the ideas the community members presented confirm what commissioners and the design team already were thinking.

"The input was very valuable," he said. "We're going to act on some of these ideas."

Some suggestions similar to what project developers had in mind for the arena included creating a glass entryway as a representation of Toledo as the Glass City.

A walking area with grass, trees, and works of art is something both community members and commissioners want to see constructed.

The arena then has the ability to attract people even if they aren't attending an event.

"It'll make the whole neighborhood more vibrant," Mr. Konop said.

Construction of the arena is expected to be completed in the fall of 2009, prior to the beginning of the hockey season.



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