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Published: Monday, 2/11/2008

Finkbeiner to deliver annual talk on Toledo

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner is expected to declare in his State of the City address today that Toledo is "vigorous, visionary, and optimistic," according to a prepared copy of his speech.

The mayor will deliver his remarks at 11:45 a.m. today before the Toledo Rotary Club at the Park Inn Hotel, 101 North Summit St.

The mayor is expected to discuss the city's transition from smokestacks to clean technology and alternative fuels.

Last week, Mr. Finkbeiner joined Gov. Ted Strickland in touring a Perrysburg Township factory that makes solar-energy panels for worldwide consumption.

Brian Schwartz, spokesman for Mayor Finkbeiner, said the speech, though prepared, was not set in stone since the mayor has a propensity for speaking off the cuff.

The mayor likely will promote the renewal of a 0.75 percent income tax that will be on the ballot March 4, Mr. Schwartz said. The levy generates $58 million in revenue for the city.

Last month, the Rev. Floyd Rose, a former Toledo civil rights activist who moved to Georgia in 1995, came back to Toledo and urged the newly organized chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to defeat the payroll tax as an act of civil disobedience.

Mr. Finkbeiner also is expected to announce a new "Sell Toledo" campaign, which would be a joint effort of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, the Regional Growth Partnership, and the city to market the region on national and international levels.

Other expected highlights from the speech include:

•The fact that Toledo was recognized by fDi Magazine, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, and The Economist as an emerging city in the field of alternative energy.

•That over the last two years, the city undertook 152 projects with 2,968 jobs created and 5,987 jobs retained.

•That capital investment in Toledo in the last two years totaled $1.165 billion - the highest in a two-year period since Mayor Finkbeiner took office in 1994.

•The partnership among the Regional Growth Partnership, the University of Toledo, and the city to develop a technology corridor between and including the UT main campus and its health science campus.

The speech also likely will include a recap of the Marina District project under way in East Toledo, downtown developments, and the "New Schools, New Neighborhoods" effort to build new homes in the vicinity of the new Toledo Public Schools buildings under construction.

In the past, Mr. Finkbeiner's State of the City addresses have been prime-time events with a measure of grandeur. That was replaced this year by "A City Celebration" hosted by the mayor in the Fifth Third Center at One SeaGate on Jan. 22.

The more than two-hour event included a re-creation of the presentation city officials made last year in London for the International Awards for Liveable Communities.

Toledo placed third in its category in the U.N.-sponsored award competition. Malmo, Sweden, placed first; Lyon, France, finished second.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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