Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rethinking Downtown Toledo

Post Details:
• Life in Downtown Toledo far from extinction
• New arena, opening fall 2009, design unveiled


2002 was a good year for my hometown, Toledo, Ohio. It was the year the new downtown ballpark –Fifth Third Field, home of the Toledo Mud Hens, our minor league baseball team – opened to much buzz and excitement. I was most excited, however, about the investment being made in a beautiful part of town, along the Maumee River downtown. What had seemed like a downward spiral to extinction for non-business-related events downtown was looking to spiral back up – at least to some extent.

Last summer, I worked downtown at the Toledo Free Press, a stone’s throw away from the stadium. At lunch, I would either walk down to the river to eat lunch with colleagues or find a nice eatery to satisfy my hunger. Downtown was bustling with people at lunch, but in the evenings or on the weekends, it was deader than dead – a ghost town just waiting for a new day.

The exception: when there are baseball evening games, like all this week; or an event at the convention center, such as a Carrie Underwood concert Tuesday night.

Beginning late next year, there should be even more exceptions, when the new arena opens down the street from the convention center and two blocks away from the stadium.


The design of the $105 million arena was debuted last week. The red brick exterior emulates a similar look to Fifth Third Field. Outside, there is a sculpture honoring Toledo jazz legend Art Tatum. The façade features an ivy-covered “green” wall that will help cool the building. The building price is higher than the originally projected price because of added features, including making it an eco-friendly facility, something county commissioners told local media they wanted in order to “do it right” and make the best arena possible.

Come fall 2009, we’ll see just how nice this new addition to downtown is and if the area can continue its spiral upward.


Links:
More images -
Arenaplans.pdf
Arena Web site

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