Toledo City Council yesterday approved an ordinance to offer grants totaling $55,500 for facade improvements to businesses in the Dorr Street-Junction Avenue area.
Council's action, approved 9-0, came six weeks after council approved a similar program for businesses in the Southwyck area along South Reynolds Road.
Also last night, council:
•Delayed for two weeks voting on ordinances to buy a portion of Southwyck Shopping Center and to seek voter renewal of the temporary 0.75-percent payroll tax, and,
•Voted to urge Gov. Ted Strickland and the Ohio General Assembly to reject a Senate bill that would reinstate monopoly electrical rate regulation in Ohio. The resolution says the legislation in Columbus could cost local ratepayers up to an additional $600 a year.
The Dorr Street facade grant program was pushed through by council President Michael Ashford, who also is the district councilman.
The program will allow grants of up to $10,000 per business, with no private match required, Mr. Ashford said.
The Reynolds Road program, also funded at $55,500, requires the business owners to put up some of their own money.
The unanimous vote came only after council split into familiar anti-Finkbeiner and pro-Finkbeiner factions over whether to give the Finkbeiner administration more time to assemble the program guidelines and to find money in the Community Development Block Grant fund instead of the general operating fund.
Mr. Ashford refused to allow the delay, rejecting the claim of Todd Davies, commissioner of economic development, that the money identified in Mr. Ashford's ordinance already was earmarked for other development projects.
Mr. Davies said the mayor supports the program.
Councilman Wilma Brown said the Dorr Street Coalition came together about five months ago, with one of its goals being to upgrade the appearance of businesses on Dorr between Collingwood Boulevard and Detroit Avenue.
She said Dorr Street is due some city spending.
In other action, council put off for two weeks voting on Mayor Finkbeiner's request for $1 million to acquire the closed Dillard's department store at Southwyck and its adjacent parking lot, a total of 11.5 acres.
The administration has said the property owner, M.G. Herring Group of Dallas, wants to sell before the end of the year, but prospective Southwyck developer Larry Dillin isn't ready to buy.
Mr. Dillin is proposing to develop a residential-retail-office project to be called the Village at Southwyck.
Council also put off for two weeks voting to put a renewal of the 0.75-percent payroll tax on the March 4 ballot.
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