Right of WayWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Forty-some years is much too short of a lifespan, but that is the age of the former United Way building that will soon face demolition.
While it is a shame that the resources and plans of the original building will end in such disappointment, it was absolutely the right decision for city council to vote April 27 to allow the agency to follow through with its demolition plans.
While Toledo Free Press has, from Day 1, sided with United Way in fighting for its right as a private business to determine its private property rights, we do not dance in celebration of the actual demolition. We understand there are people who are invested in the building and its short history, although none are apparently invested enough to find the capital required to save the poorly designed and poorly maintained structure.
We have full confidence that United Way’s board of trustees and its President and CEO Bill Kitson, have learned that there must be full attention paid to keeping the new building in its best shape, even though it is powerfully tempting to dedicate every available dime to a community in great need.
Only one present member of City Council, Joe McNamara, voted to block United Way’s plans, and while we will credit him for his consistency and steadfastness on this issue, we will again remind the voting members of the business community that McNamara chose to stand in opposition to private business, private property and — in the face of the overwhelming evidence that the old building was an expensive drain on community resources — common sense. We respect McNamara as a smart man, but his dedication to this cause is a red flag that will not be forgotten.
There were some expected sour grapes. Fred Kutz, who filed the sole appeal that kept this decision from being made more than a month ago, told The Blade “corporate America wins and the taxpayers lose,” seven words dripping with as much misinformation as anything uttered this side of a Snopes search. United Way is a private business, but it surely does not consider itself part of corporate America, and there are no taxpayer dollars involved in maintaining or demolishing the structure.
Regardless of such inanity, the two-year quest looks to be finished and United Way can proceed with its plans.
It is a loss far outweighed by the gains to be counted by one of our region’s most vital and important philanthropic agencies.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.