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Published: Wednesday, 2/8/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

City to close event halls at Erie St. Market

BLADE STAFF
The site, a passion of former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, is a losing proposition, Deputy Mayor Tom Crothers says. The site, a passion of former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, is a losing proposition, Deputy Mayor Tom Crothers says.
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The future of downtown Toledo's Erie Street Market lunged toward uncertainty Tuesday after the city announced it is closing down the facility's two event halls.

Deputy Mayor Tom Crothers said the "Fountain Room" and the "Toledo Events Center" will be closed April 1, leaving only the Libbey Glass outlet open at the site.

An antiques mall that occupied a fourth bay was closed Dec. 31.

Mr. Crothers said the city loses about $250,000 a year operating the market.

Closing the event halls, which have been used for such events as concerts, weddings, and conferences, will help the city save tax dollars by cutting maintenance and utility expenses, he said.

"The revenue we derive from it is in no way sufficient to warrant keeping these two bays open," Mr. Crothers said. "It just doesn't make sense for us when the budget of the city of Toledo is so tight."

The deputy mayor remained mum about a possible future use for the site, but he said city officials are in discussions with several parties.

"We have a number of folks that we've talked to and are interested," he said.

People who had booked events at the market for dates after April 1 have been invited to hold their festivities at other venues in the city.

Kris Berger Long, booking agent for the Erie Street Market event halls, has secured dates at locations including the Park Inn Hotel and The Docks restaurant complex to accommodate the bookings. Twelve people have been sent letters notifying them of the arrangements, Mr. Crothers said.

The closure of the halls drives another nail into the coffin of the long-struggling Erie Street Market operation, a passion of former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner. City officials evicted 23 antiques dealers from the site in December, citing the need to save on expenses at that time.

The lease for Libbey Glass expires in September, and Mr. Crothers said the city is in talks with the company about what to do after that. He said no plans have been made.

-- Claudia Boyd-Barrett



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