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Food truck stop good call

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Food trucks have already proven to be a hit with Toledo residents, and can be an important part of the city’s revitalization.

The Blade/Katie Rausch
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It was a good and easy call for Toledo City Council to approve zoning for a “food truck park” on a vacant restaurant parking lot on North Summit Street.

Unlike Levis Square, where food trucks compete on Thursdays with the existing brick-and-mortar restaurants, Maggie Bauman’s food truck stop will have the Summit Street business all to itself.

RELATED: City Council paves way for new food truck park

The great news is that she’s trying to do something new, and she’s part of a revitalization boomlet taking place in the North End.

The location rezoned by council’s action is 1337 North Summit, the former location of Andre’s Lounge. Ms. Bauman lives in the Vistula District and manages Grumpy’s on the Go food truck, a spin-off of the Bauman family-owned Grumpy’s restaurant on Huron Street downtown.

Her goal is to start with a rotation of two or three local food trucks that would provide quick lunch options at the half-acre lot from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., probably starting with “food truck Fridays.”

The city and the food truck operators have agreed on licensing that costs $50 and allows food trucks to operate, an option that serves a need and is a valid way to dispense food in our rush-rush society.

The location will be equipped with chairs, tables, and portable bathrooms. Most importantly to car-loving Toledoans, there’s no parking shortage. The restaurants that should be concerned about food truck competition are the McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell located not so far away on Bancroft Street and Front Street in East Toledo.

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The Historic Vistula District could use some new energy. The neighborhood, which sits northeast of the intersection of Cherry and North Summit, has experienced various upsurges of investment over the years followed by periods of frustrating inaction and deterioration. Ms. Bauman’s food truck stop comes as investors are showing interest — and spending money on — the historic buildings on North Summit Street, which borders the Vistula District.

Signs of that interest are the city’s support behind the “Nautical Mile,” a plan for a walkable, art-infused, user-friendly pathway on both sides of the Maumee River. The Downtown Toledo Development Inc. has a plan to extend its development district north of Cherry Street. The mayor has even expressed interest in moving an 18-ton pile of salt from the river front that some see as a visual blight. Sprucing up the North Toledo river front is a longterm goal.

Food trucks are a great way to attract people north of Cherry Street for lunch. Maybe some of them will find a way to stay.

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