Martinez steps upWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
The conversations inspired by Toledo’s inclusion on the Forbes “Most Miserable Cities” list offered some common themes. One of the most prevalent topics was the quality and source of city leadership. And while it will take several elections to determine the future direction of Toledo, one councilman has put forth a proposal that shows new thinking and an exciting opportunity.
Adam Martinez is working on an idea to alter how Section 108 loans are handled in Toledo. According to a news story first reported by Toledo Free Press, he “has organized meetings with for-profit and nonprofit executives discussing such goals as a $100 million revolving loan fund.”
Section 108 is a loan the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development must approve, an advance on future Community Development Block Grants only available to formula cities like Toledo. In Martinez’s plan, a 108 loan, instead of being used for a single project, could be used for several projects through bonds. This could be achieved by allowing the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to leverage the annual nearly $20 million and increase it to a $100 million revolving loan fund.
Martinez is also working with representatives from Toledo’s Department of Neighborhood and Department of Economic Development, LISC, ABLE, LCIC, LMHA, several Community Development Corporations, Martinez and Councilman Rob Ludeman, among others.
According to our initial report, “Martinez said in addition to creating a larger pool of available dollars, underwriting criteria would be established. Bonding, personal guarantees, a letter of commitment, a 5 to 10 percent cash equity requirement and a yet-to-be-determined debt coverage ratio have been discussed.”
We strongly endorse the exploration of this plan; while it has been described as being in “high-level talks” and there is a tremendous amount of work to be done, the concept is original, creative and collaborative in a way we do not see often enough in Toledo. It is especially insightful for Martinez to work with the Port Authority, one of the region’s most trusted and respected development institutions.
Kudos to Martinez and his collaborators for thinking of new ways to bolster growth and specifically for turning to a cooperative approach to moving the region forward.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.