Toledo Talk

Toledo Destination

What could TOledo do to make things happen here? Anyone have any bright ideas on how to make it unique and grow it? With the Marina, zoo, museum, Casino, etc... what else could the area or welcome bureau do to make this a destination spot??

created by jim30529 on Jun 30, 2011 at 12:57:35 pm     Other     Comments: 24

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I guess the first question should be: do we need to make this region a destination spot?

Is there evidence that companies would prefer to create jobs in a "destination area?" If so, fine. If not, perhaps job creation and stability would be a better focus right now.

I understand that tourism can bring in dollars to an economy, which can create some jobs. However, there are plenty of stable cities that aren't necessarily "destination cities."

(I'm not saying that to be negative - I'm just wondering whether it might be putting the cart before the horse.)

posted by mom2 on Jun 30, 2011 at 01:15:13 pm     #   1 person liked this

This video, created to promote Toledo as the host of the 2012 Glass Art Society conference, might be a good place to start the conversation. It features some of the glass art heritage of Toledo as well as highlighting some of the current arts assets/resources that visitors will enjoy while they're in town.

http://youtu.be/tr4C71dWQyI

posted by kmcgilvery on Jun 30, 2011 at 01:17:30 pm     #   1 person liked this

Well...you would need to have things that people want to do (duh, I know). I personally would like to see some kind of hands on Aquatic Museum/Research Center downtown. I would envision like an aquarium that is in conjunction with like UT or BG that does research on Ohio's native fish and other aquatic species. Something where the public can come in and see the aquatics and maybe have hands on access. I honestly would like to see this in the old steam plant.

I also would like to see the Park Inn's name changed to a Hyatt or Sheraton or something other then the Park Inn. I like the Crowne Plaza but also another big named hotel chain would be good, I think.

How about building an IMAX theater down there? I understand there is a few up in Detroit, but what a smaller scale one in downtown?

That's all I can think of for now.

posted by avinsurer on Jun 30, 2011 at 02:41:17 pm     #   1 person liked this

avinsurer - I agree that something that makes positive use of our water resources would be beneficial. (Whether it be an aquarium, waterfront socialization, etc. Take advantage of both the lakefront and riverfront!)

Also, in a perfect world, it would be great if we could land some type of annual event. (Like Omaha with the College World Series. In general, most people wouldn't think of Omaha as a destination town, but once a year it sure is.)

posted by mom2 on Jun 30, 2011 at 02:52:32 pm     #  

good ideas.. I like using the waterfront.. I wish they still had party in the park.. that was great. Too bad they can't get corporate sponsors for that again! That was a blast.. Hopefully with the Marina district groud breaking, we can get something down there within the year to draw people down... If they build town houses.. that won't work.. they won't sell quickly... we need entertainment or something to bring people there.. not just homes... i say a ferris wheel or something on the lake would be good to.. why not make it a section like the "flats" in cleveland.. something to get people downtown and out and about!

posted by jim30529 on Jun 30, 2011 at 02:55:40 pm     #  

Another thought - In my opinion, a majority of these attractions would need to be all season places and have attractions that keep locals coming down. If I had boat loads of money to donate to the community and build a few attractions I would do something like this - I would try and get Key Bank to move to another location and take that area and make that a Toledo history museum with hands on exhibits of Toledo. I would some how connect it to the steam plant and that's where the aquatics center would be. Looking at google maps, I was thinking of putting another attraction in that area, but that would require the development of the area right around Promenade Park and I don't really want to take that green space, unless it were just taking that area between Summit and Water Streets. How about an IMAX theater where the old United Way building was? I think there might be space there. Can get in and out quickly there. It's close enough where you could do Imagination Station and the IMAX all in one day.

Also, what about a Paddle boat that does river cruises for lunch and dinner? Something that's not totally luxurious but not super crappy either. Someone's floating restaurant? I think that would be cool.

posted by avinsurer on Jun 30, 2011 at 04:06:16 pm     #  

actually upscale townhouses are exactly what toledo needs - enough condos and apartment we can't sell. people generally want full control of a piece of land and a residence NOT an apartment four stories up. entertainment, retail, business office springs up around residential NOT the other way around. if we make our urban residential and subsequent commerical special THEN the city becomes a draw.

our environment while nice for raising a family is not economically viable to become a destinations spot - with gambling going in everywhere, our gambling will merely be for taking in local gambling dollars and will generate very few over night stays or impact the economy beyond the casino owners and some workers.

we should concentrate CBDG and toledo development money on near downtown urban neighborhoods - we ought to have pilot programs to add free wifi to downtown neighborhoods and parks, we should have set up urban parks (cheers to uptown!!)

read jane jacobs!! the way to create vibrant cities is well known... it is politicians and traffic planners who screw up urban design/the urban fabric. toledo has done everything the opposite of good planning... tearing down urban buildings often historic; closing off streets; creating superblock after superblock that are unfriendly to pedestrians; placing convention center, baseball, and arena all right next to each other rather than spacing them and allowing the urban fabric to develop between them or at least at a hard edge - each of them is dead most of the time especially during business hours and sucks the life out of everything around them.

there is a new generation every ten years who asks the same question you did. i and others did it 30 years ago. ligibel and others did it before that. "toledo tommorrow" was fifty years ago.

toledo did not get this way by accident - the pols made bad decisions based on a variety of bad sometimes corrupt reasons... but toledo does not pay attention; toledo continues to repeat the same mistakes. who has been in office 10, 20, 25 years... i am a lefty dem but, yep, it is their fault.

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Jun 30, 2011 at 04:16:26 pm     #   2 people liked this

I like mom2's analytical questions. But I also like the idea of an IMAX theater...

Y'know, the funny thing is, Toledo people seem to look at other areas and think, "That's a cool place or scene, I'm moving here or there." I mean, Toledo is never gonna be NY, hell it's never even gonna' be Columbus, and I don't mean that as a slag. Passion, art, commerce, it's really just people doing what they do. I don't think you can "force" a community revival or build a downtown like a board game or something...it's lots of little people doing they're own thing and overlapping and referring each other and suddenly you've got a community. But I don't think there is ever a time when you are in a position where you stand back and say, "There, it's done, we've made downtown all nice." Too many people I meet have this "If we just did this or that then it would be nice" attitude and I don't think that is realistic. A thriving community is a constantly changing and evolving thing and I don't think you'll see it (whatever it is) when it happens. Example: For most of the 60's and 70's my family maintained an apt in the East Village of NYC. It was universally agreed that the area was a s$#thole. Over 25 years it completely evolved into what many consider a safe and livable (it lost a lot of charm along the way, believe me) community. But there was never one epiphany moment when people were like, "See, it's all better now." It just sort of happened...

That said, IMHO Toledo needs to do and or understand:

1. Restaurants and bars are NOT the impetus for downtown revival-the are the product of it. People+jobs+housing=disposable income.
Don't get me wrong, I patronize every place in this city-my hat's off to you, proprietors. But think how busy you would be if every day at five the well-paid employees of numerous buildings emptied into the streets of d-town.

2. Crime- you want have the above if you have crime. And I'm not talking about locking everyone up. Education, opportunity and values (family or otherwise) need to be present in people lives so they don't turn to crime in the first place. A civilized society costs money and takes time. And there will always be a small percentage that no social program can help-a duck is a duck.

3. As for the "destination" concept, what have we got that no one else has?
-Rivers/Waterfront? Nope
-Hotels and Restaurants? Nope
-A Casino? Nope
-Sports teams? Nope
-World class Art Museum and Symphony? Kinda.
I think they could team up and exploit their popularity in a regional manner far better than they currently do.

You tell me, I'm growing tired

posted by SavageFred on Jun 30, 2011 at 04:17:59 pm     #   1 person liked this

another quick thing, while toledo still has relatively little traffic, we should be busy converting center lanes of major streets to street car lines and bike lanes. instead toledo's myopic population fears bike paths and mass transportation because poor and minorities are just looking for ways to rob suburbanites - like they are going to use bike paths and buses to rob people! how absurd.

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Jun 30, 2011 at 04:24:19 pm     #  

Something interesting I saw on wired recently about the resurgence of cities like Omaha, Nebraska. I really think Toledo needs to follow the same path as Omaha and others in finding more ways to "cater to the younger set." They are the information workers of the future.

The type of people that can bring high paying jobs and tax dollars, that are outside of the typical industry/manufacturing Toledo was based on. Imagine if Toledo could exceed the national average of knowledge workers.(30%) That is the type of economy that will feed the future of Toledo.

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/05/ff_jobsblockbyblock/

posted by glasscityguy on Jun 30, 2011 at 04:46:55 pm     #   1 person liked this

"actually upscale townhouses are exactly what toledo needs - enough condos and apartment we can't sell. people generally want full control of a piece of land and a residence NOT an apartment four stories up. entertainment, retail, business office springs up around residential NOT the other way around. if we make our urban residential and subsequent commerical special THEN the city becomes a draw."

Agreed, in genera,l but I would also say you need a good mix. For instance downtown you really need more market rate apartments not just expensive townhouses/condos that keep popping up. Market rate apartments that don't require that long term commitment are what seem to be the draw for the young/hip/artistic types that are moving to downtown.

posted by glasscityguy on Jun 30, 2011 at 04:51:59 pm     #  

I'd like to see the Marina be all that has been promised and more. It would also be nice if it comes to be to beef up restaurants etc at the docks.

They should build a nice 180 degree IMAX at Cosi like they have in Pittsburgh. Not the regular 2d screen with improved sound but a trule IMAX where you sit at a 45 degree angle and are immersed in the entire screen no matter where you look.

Then have shuttles from/to the docks to Cosi, zoo, museum, Arena and ball park, and a boat shuttle to Putt n Bay.

My dream at least. Especially the boat shuttle from downtown to Putt N Bay _

posted by INeedCoffee on Jun 30, 2011 at 04:54:01 pm     #  

If anyone recognizes my name from the city-data Toledo forum, then they know I'm a big proponent of using Omaha as a model to follow. Extremely similar city. They're a little bigger, but we're dealing with a very similar deck of cards.

posted by Johio83 on Jun 30, 2011 at 04:58:07 pm     #  

I've never been on that forum, but I have mentioned Omaha here a few times recently. :)

posted by mom2 on Jun 30, 2011 at 05:18:20 pm     #  

"I'd like to see the Marina be all that has been promised and more. It would also be nice if it comes to be to beef up restaurants etc at the docks."

Me too, but I don't see how. We already have restaurants that can't stay open for more than a year and plenty of empty residential and retail space. And even at $5.00 a gallon, the serious boaters will still dock at Bay View/ Toledo, in Oregon or Port Clinton. Of course it'll be nice to pull up and dock for a bathroom stop and lunch, but I just don't understand what the Marina District can offer that we don't already have-more stores? More restaurants? What am I missing? I know plenty of boat owners who live full or part time on the water in Maumee/Pburg/Toledo/Oregon-and all the way along the lake to and including Catawba, and not a single one would ever consider living there. We've discussed ad nauseam.

I'm not putting it down, I really, really hope it works. I just don't see how.

The "Wired" article on Omaha is quite interesting.

posted by SavageFred on Jun 30, 2011 at 07:38:13 pm     #  

"like they are going to use bike paths and buses to rob people! how absurd."

I have a friend who's house in Ottawa Hills was burglarized by someone who got in through their backyard via the University Parks Trail a couple years ago. Happened to a few of his neighbors as well, so yes it does happen. Regardless I don't see more bike paths being the key to convincing people to come here.

posted by taliesin52 on Jun 30, 2011 at 07:56:31 pm     #  

What about a cruise line (home port is Toledo) that travels throughout the Great Lakes?

posted by Molsonator on Jun 30, 2011 at 08:03:10 pm     #  

http://ToledoRegionStory.com

posted by jr on Jun 30, 2011 at 08:31:36 pm     #  

Eeeeek. The site has serious design issues. Not sure why you posted jr?

posted by Molsonator on Jun 30, 2011 at 09:12:51 pm     #  

"Not sure why you posted jr?"

The post that started this thread said:

With the Marina, zoo, museum, Casino, etc... what else could the area or welcome bureau do to make this a destination spot??

And that reminded me of the January 2010 Toledo Talk thread titled Toledo Survey, which mentioned the effort to brand this region, and Toledo Region Story directed that project.

Here's their June 2010 presentation in a large PDF file titled Toledo Region Brand 1.0

The group has a Twitter page: http://twitter.com/toledoregion

Jun 5, 2011 tweet :

Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority contributes $35k to Toledo Region brand effort.

January 2011 Toledo Free Press story titled Branding communicates competitive advantage, which lists the following orgs that have contributed to this branding effort:

  • Destination Toledo
  • Toledo Mud Hens
  • University of Toledo
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • City of Toledo
  • Lucas County
  • Lucas County Improvement Corporation
  • Toledo Community Foundation
  • Greater Toledo Urban League
  • Greater Downtown Business Partnership
  • Job 1 USA
  • Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority
  • Regional Growth Partnership
  • "and others"

posted by jr on Jun 30, 2011 at 11:39:55 pm     #  

99.5% of the burglaries utilize roads... shut down the roads.

the university parks trail is an amazing amenity. i have used it extensively and nowhere will you find more diversity in age, race, and socio-economics. along with ideas like more neighborhood parks and free wifi hot spots, nothing activates a city more, nothing serves as better amenities for quality of life - these are exactly the things that convince people to move here.

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Jul 01, 2011 at 01:10:10 am     #   2 people liked this

Allow 100% school choice through vouchers, close the failing schools.

24 shootings in 30 days - prioritize city spending with police, fire, courts placed at the top (including concessions/revisions in union contracts).

Cut taxes, fees, and service charges, and remove any restriction to competitive bidding on city contracts - union priority.

If business investment goes up, employment goes up, the existing social and cultural venues in Toledo will help bring and keep people in.

TAHL

posted by CynicalCounsel on Jul 02, 2011 at 09:44:52 am     #  

I agree with INeedCoffee's vision: a Jet Express-style ferry to Put in Bay and Cedar Point, leaving from the marina.

A water taxi from the marina to the Docks and International Park to the casino ... a regularly-scheduled loop to all those places.

We have an opportunity to add incrementally to existing facilities and experiences. People will be coming to visit the Maritime Museum (going in at the Marina) and the museum ship Schoonmaker will be berthed there. It would be great if visitors could also get to the Docks and the casino without moving their cars three times.

A seasonal Friday evening/all day Saturday trolley running from International Park and 5th 3rd Field straight down Monroe Street to the Art Museum.

Anything we can do to link together some of the amazing places we already have ... when I go somewhere as a destination, I like to have several things to do with easy access between them all.

posted by viola on Jul 03, 2011 at 03:47:29 pm     #  

It would be great if visitors could also get to the Docks and the casino without moving their cars three times.

YES!

Ideally, visitors should be able to arrive in Toledo, check in to a downtown hotel, park in a secure lot and never have to use their vehicle again for the duration of their stay. If people could hit the Art Museum, Fifth Third Field, The Docks, Casino, Toledo Zoo, Maritime Museum/Schoonmaker and the uptown area, we'd really have something to build on. While I'm dreaming, light Rail from the OWE/Art Museum to Fifth Third (w/a detour down Adams) would really be cool.
I still think we should have insisted the Casino go on the site of the former Sports Arena, walking distance to The Docks and the Marina/Maritime Museum.

Ten or so years ago, didn't a guy/group propose a parking area off the AWT to the East of the Zoo (where the old junkyard fire was) and running light rail/buses from the zoo to the ballpark/docks on game days and weekends? Probably got squashed by whomever owns all parking d-town.

posted by SavageFred on Jul 04, 2011 at 10:57:46 am     #