Marcy Kaptur tours Libbey with Owens, UTWritten by Emily Gibb | | email@example.com
Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, toured Libbey High School on April 4 with members of the Toledo Public Schools board, Owens Community College, University of Toledo and Libbey preservation supporters, including city councilman D. Michael Collins, to visualize how the site could be used as a community hub for education and continue brainstorming where to find the funding.
“My hope is that the goodwill of this community will wrap around this neighborhood and this set of buildings to help find a transformational use,” Kaptur said. “Libbey forms the heart and soul and identity of this community. We have to think hard about how to transform the use … to something greater than before.”
Kaptur invited the group to walk through the building to begin envisioning its potential, she said.
Dr. Renay Scott, executive vice president/provost of Owens, said that the building remains a possibility as they try to assess how they can address the educational shortcomings of the area and where the building would fit into that.
“The most important thing we can do right now as a group of community partners is define what the specific needs are, how we can meet them and then we’ll be able to answer if the potential is here,” she said.
Collins said a group coordinated by Owens, UT and Kaptur will try to come to a consensus as to what makes the most sense for the property and for the future of the community, as well as working with TPS on extending the timeline for making a decision.
“I would hope, since they planned in less than a year ago to do this, they would give us a reasonable amount of time in which to accomplish what should be accomplished — what morally should occur for this neighborhood,” Collins said, “and that is to keep this institution and the value it once had and restore it to that value.”
Kaptur agreed with Libbey preservation supporters that the facility is vital for the education and job training of the area, asking “Do we just let a part of our community lose part of its soul or do we try one more time to try to mobilize people with good intentions across our community to envision a transformational future for this set of buildings?”