Toledo City Council heard of plans to spend some of its capital budget on streetscape improvements to Reynolds Road in front of Southwyck Shopping Center during its biweekly agenda review meeting yesterday - but nothing of a threatened challenge to the leadership of Republican Council President Rob Ludeman.
City administrators submitted legislation asking for authorization to spend some of the $2.7 million in capital funds set aside for Southwyck on improvements to the median islands, traffic signs, and street lighting on Reynolds between Heatherdowns Boulevard and Glendale Avenue.
However, there were few details about the kind of work to be done or how much it would cost.
Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who also announced the proposed spending in front of a newly rebuilt McDonald's restaurant near Southwyck yesterday, said the improvements will benefit existing businesses and help prepare the area for Southwyck Shopping Center's redevelopment.
Plans to redevelop the aging Southwyck mall as a mixed-use Village at Southwyck have been stuck in park with the refusal of mall part-owner Bill Dillard to either sell his share or join a redevelopment effort with Perrysburg real-estate developer Larry Dillin.
Mr. Finkbeiner said the possibility of using the city's eminent domain power to take control of the mall has not been ruled out. He said he intends to give the current owners 30 days to consider Mr. Dillin's proposal before taking any action.
There was no discussion about a pending leadership fight during the meeting, but Councilman Frank Szollosi said private discussions could lead to a vote next Tuesday or even earlier, in a special meeting that he said could be called at seven members' request.
Mr. Szollosi, a Democrat, has called for a president who reflects Democrats' eight-seat majority on the 12-seat council. He said yesterday he doesn't know yet if there are seven votes in support of one candidate for president.
Some Democrats tried to oust Mr. Ludeman in January, but were unable to reach consensus on a successor.
"All I can say is that members of council are still talking about this among themselves," Mr. Szollosi said.
Mr. Ludeman was absent from council's meeting and could not be reached for comment.