What's in a name? A lot, say organizers in North Toledo.
It's been almost a year since they adopted a new moniker for their part of the city - "ONE Village" - in an effort to rebrand it.
For months, they solicited ideas and took votes before deciding on the new handle.
Is the change catching on?
"I think that it is," allowed Julia Bryant. "I think it's a slow process."
Indeed, Ms. Bryant, a dedicated neighborhood volunteer, acknowledged that she herself often makes reference to North Toledo, and not always from force of habit.
"Sometimes it's deliberate because I want people to know what I'm talking about," she explained.
City officials get the message, said Terry Glazer, chief executive officer of United North, the area's community development agency.
Terry Glazer, United North CEO, stops by a display of tomatoes from Oneida Greenhouse.
ONE Village is to receive 10 street signs bearing the new name to be strategically placed at the area's boundaries. The signs are to be unveiled this month at a United North board meeting.
Mr. Glazer said he hopes the signs will help cement the area's new name in the public mind.
The neighborhoods have acquired not just a new name but a new identity, he said.
On a recent tour, he pointed to the Oneida Greenhouse on Oneida Street, where aquaponics - or fish farming - is done and organic tomatoes and arugula are grown, and noted that 48 houses have been built in North Toledo in recent years.
Mr. Glazer repeatedly brings up United North's quality-of-life plan, which outlines five areas of focus: housing, jobs and economic development, schools, safety, and parks and community facilities.
"Five hundred people worked on it, all volunteers," he said. "That shows you the kind of commitment and involvement we have."
Two North Toledo improvement groups - Lagrange Development Corp. and NorthRiver Development Corp. - began the renaming effort last year, following through on the recommendation of a neighborhood study. They have since merged into United North.
"North Toledo," so the reasoning went, conjured up negative images of riots and crime in the minds of many, and dropping it would be best.
The brainstorming sessions included a meeting at the Zablocki Senior Center in May, 2009, at which new names were considered. Some of the contenders: "Skyway North," "United North Village," "United North Area," and "Rainbow North."
Residents meeting in November in the Waite Brand Auditorium, which once was part of the former Riverside Hospital, voted to adopt ONE Village. The first part of the name stands for Old North End. This spring, a Woodward High School student's design was declared the winner of a contest to find a ONE Village logo.
"It's a good name," Ms. Bryant said. "People just have to get used to it."
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