Planning a miracle on the MaumeeWritten by Michael Drew Shaw | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2002, Toledo-based American Retrospects, LLC signed an agreement with ODOT and general contractor Fru-Con to produce a television documentary that will showcase the new I-280 bridge. The plan is to distribute the program to PBS stations nationwide in an effort to draw attention to this modern technological marvel that is on Toledo’s horizon.
When we learned there were no plans for a welcome center, we took action. An advisory team was formed. We then consulted with dozens of business leaders, several state and local representatives and community groups. We have a plan and proposal to create an attraction that can have significant impact on Toledo’s image and economy.
Our vision is called SkyWay Visitor’s Center and it is not just a concrete building with restrooms and a rack of tourist pamphlets. Skyway Center is an expanded version of the $4 million Ottawa County Visitor’s Center that opened two years ago. With overnight guest and RV accommodations plus other amenities, SkyWay Center would give travelers a reason to exit our new bridge at Front Street and visit Toledo rather than just drive by.
Located near The Docks and other yet-to-be-named Marina District attractions, SkyWay Center would fit nicely with popular leisure time activities, entertainment and special events that draw visitors regionally on a year-round basis.
The next step is to secure an appropriate parcel of land consistent with the needs of the SkyWay project.
Fortunately, recent brownfield cleanup efforts have prepared several locations ideally suited for planting the seeds for future Marina District development. A visitor’s center seems like a logical addition to other existing venues, such as Fifth Third Field, SeaGate Centre, COSI, Toledo Zoo, Toledo Museum of Art and future Pizzuti Company recommendations.
With work on the new bridge nearing completion, we would like to introduce the SkyWay Center proposal to our community to get a sense of its support … or lack thereof.
New projects like SkyWay and the I-280 Bridge need individuals with passion and commitment. Perhaps SkyWay Center should include an appropriate memorial that celebrates all of the men and women who are building the Maumee River Crossing, particularly those who died or were injured in the process.
A vote of confidence from our fellow Toledoans would be timely and appreciated. However, if a dose of reality suggests otherwise, that has equal value.
Please take time to write or call. Thank you in advance for responding and thank you Toledo Free Press for this forum.
Contact Michael Drew Shaw via e-mail at email@example.com, regular mail at
300 Madison Avenue, Suite 1300, Toledo, OH 43604