District 2 City Council candidate Ed Cichy proposed a plan yesterday to protect and promote small businesses in Toledo that he said would lead to Southwyck Shopping Center s revitalization.
Mr. Cichy held a news conference at Dave s Home Cooked Foods restaurant on South Reynolds Road yesterday, across the street from the once-vibrant mall. He said the city can work with the 575 small businesses on Reynolds Road, like the restaurant at which he spoke, through incentive programs that will make his district an attractive shopping area in Toledo for both shoppers and larger retail stores.
The decline in this area has got to stop, said Mr. Cichy, a Democrat and one of 10 candidates running in District 2. Rebuilding Southwyck is going to be a long-term project, and I m willing to be the leader of that project. We should be active in giving [Southwyck redeveloper Larry Dillin] all the resources he needs to be successful.
Among Mr. Cichy s proposals for aiding these small businesses was the creation of a small grant program to help local firms maximize efficiency and profit through operations audits. He said the program would be similar to the one utilized in Akron, where the city pays for half the cost of a $500 operations audit.
Mr. Cichy, a customer service coordinator for Kroger, also outlined plans to develop and lead a team of public and private entities to aid small businesses with budgeting, training, and technological issues.
In a prepared statement released to the press, Mr. Cichy called for Mayor Carty Finkbeiner to hire a full-time economic development director, saying the city s economic development and small business assistance efforts cannot be expected to succeed when the department responsible for them is without full-time leadership.
Mr. Cichy said Toledo s City Council is not doing enough to promote and protect small businesses.
Too much focus has been placed on attracting large businesses or embarking on major development projects, rather than nurturing the city s small- business community, he said. I d love to be announcing a Jeep plant moving to South Toledo with 3,000 jobs, but those jobs are few and far between, Mr. Cichy said.