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City may fix Erie Street Market to lure vendors

Geo-thermal system, leaky roof need repair

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A leaky roof is on the list of issues facing the Erie Street Market.

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With a deal in the works for one business to go into the Erie Street Market and a national grocery considering opening a store there, Toledo City Council is being asked to spend up to $150,000 to fix the building’s leaky roof and repair the geo-thermal heating and cooling system.

A proposal to take money out of the budget for capital improvement projects to make roof repairs and replace pumps and equipment in the heating and cooling system was discussed Tuesday at council’s agenda-review meeting.

Bill Burkett, commissioner of economic development, told council members that consultants who have inspected the city-owned building estimate the roof repairs could cost as much as $70,000 and work to replace pumps used in the geo-thermal system will be at least $32,000.

Two of the four pumps that move ground water into the system must be replaced, he said.

Also, eight of the 10 handling units that circulate heated and cooled air throughout the building, including the Libbey Glass Factory Outlet store, must be replaced, and the cost for that work will be about $60,000, Mr. Burkett said.

After contractors inspect the roof and mechanical system, the city would issue a request for proposals for the work and advertise for bids.

Legislation that would allow Mayor D. Michael Collins to enter into a lease agreement with a produce grower to operate a controlled-environment greenhouse in two of three empty bays at the Erie Street Market also was forwarded to the agenda for the July 1 council meeting.

Jim Bloom, who owns Sustainable Local Foods and operates a greenhouse on Hill Avenue, uses LED lighting to induce photosynthesis to grow lettuce and vegetables year round without natural sunlight. The plants are grown in white trays that receive a constant stream of water and nutrients.

The building, on Erie Street in the Warehouse District, also is being studied by Lucky’s Market for a Toledo location.

Mayor Collins said officials with the Boulder, Colo.-based company met with him about a month ago when they visited the building to explore opening a grocery in the old civic center theater.

The company, which has a store in Columbus and plans to open one in Ann Arbor, is expected to make a decision next month, he said.

Mayor Collins said the city has the opportunity to transform space that has sat idle for eight years into viable businesses that will create jobs and possibly spur other development.

“Status quo has cost us huge dollars for eight years. Everything we have tried to do there has been an economic failure,” he said.“This is really a great opportunity for the Warehouse District based on what I have observed.”

The administration also introduced legislation to amend the municipal code to regulate mobile food vendors on North St. Clair Street in the downtown and the Warehouse and Uptown neighborhoods.

The operators would be required to pay annual $1,000 fees for the privilege of putting their trucks on the street. Council scheduled a committee of the whole meeting for 2 p.m. July 1 to discuss the proposal.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.

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