‘Livable community’ award requires your supportWritten by Carty Finkbeiner | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Back in 1952, Toledo Mayor Lloyd Roulet had a serious problem. Toledo was trying to construct an airport to help compete with other major industrial cities like Detroit and Cleveland who were already underway with airport construction.
For eight years, the city proposed a number of sites for the airport. A few sites, such as Glendale Avenue and Eastgate and Bancroft Street and McCord Road, were rejected when neighbors fought the plan. Other sites in Monclova and Springfield Township were rejected for having unstable soil.
Toledo was falling behind other major cities in developing modern transportation infrastructure and Mayor Roulet had to get the project moving again. To help the city solve the problem, he turned to the private sector.
Roulet called the presidents and CEOs of Toledo’s largest companies. His plan, he told them, was to have each company buy a small parcel of land on the border between Monclova Township and Swanton Township. He knew that any large land purchase by the city would tip off land speculators and send real estate prices soaring and cost the city more money. Small purchases by the private sector would go unnoticed. Each of these corporate titans agreed to invest their firm’s money and time in helping Mayor Roulet and the City of Toledo.
Later, the City would purchase all of the lots to assemble the parcel where Toledo Express Airport is located today. Mayor Roulet’s dream of having a major, international airport in Toledo would have been substantially delayed, if not destroyed, had the private sector not stepped in to help the city in its time of need.
We Toledoans of today need to reinvigorate that spirit of cooperation between the business sector and the government sector. We have an opportunity for our city’s business leaders to step forward and help the city for our mutual benefit. The City of Toledo is one of six — and the only American finalist — for the International Award for Livable Communities sponsored by the United Nations. In November, we will travel to London, England to present our case to a panel of international judges as to why Toledo is the most livable city in the world.
To travel there, we’ll need private sector help. I will not spend taxpayer dollars on expenses associated with this award. We’ll also need funds to produce a video that showcases all Toledo has to offer. We need approximately $40,000 to accomplish our goal and we are asking the public to help.
Several businesses have already stepped forward. Owens Corning, whose heritage in our community is substantial, has donated $2,000. Fifth Third Bank, who is building a legacy in our city, has stepped forward with an additional $2,000. Larry Dillin, who has a high level of civic involvement in the city, has also contributed $1,000.
While I would not compare competing for this prestigious award to a project as immense as building an airport, strengthening the cooperative and symbiotic relationship between the city’s government and the city’s business community is of paramount importance.
The award is important to Toledo. We have already been named one of ten Cities of the Future by fDi Magazine. However, as the city wins more and more awards — both national and international — and brings attention to itself, the international business community will take notice. Last week’s Newsweek article about Toledo’s growing alternative fuels industry as well as the British weekly, The Economist, noticing our efforts to develop a clean technology economy, is evidence of that.
People can donate by sending a check to the LivCom Awards, c/o Megan Robson, One Government Center, Toledo, OH 43604. Any and all contributions will be deeply appreciated.
Toledo is one of the most livable communities in the world and I want the opportunity to show that to the judges in London and people from all over the globe who will attend the final competition.
As Mayor Lloyd Roulet did all those years ago, I am appealing to our business and community leaders to step forward and help the City of Toledo showcase all that is great about our city to the world!
Carty Finkbeiner is mayor of the City of Toledo. He may be contacted at (419) 245-1001.