Addition by subtractionWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Downtown Toledo is growing.
That’s not an opinion; there is empirical proof on several streets. The residences, restaurants, arts activities and development announcements at the Marina District, Toledo Edison Steam Plant and elsewhere are easy-to-see evidence. The corner where Toledo Free Press is housed, where Monroe Street meets Huron Street next to Fifth Third Field, is particularly healthy. You can stand there in the shadow of one of the greatest minor league baseball stadiums in America and see Huntington Center, SeaGate Centre, restaurants such as The Blarney Irish Pub, Table Forty4, Cock ‘n’ Bull, PizzaPapalis and a new Italian restaurant. If you look far enough, you can see the Bronze Boar, Quimby’s and Grumpy’s, with Spaghetti Warehouse, Packo’s at the Park and Swan Creek Candle just out of sight around the corner.
One business that recently closed represents not a loss, but an opportunity. Marilyn’s on Monroe, an adult establishment, recently shut its doors at 715 Monroe St.
Toledo City Council, the Planning Commission and interested groups such as the Mud Hens, Destination Toledo and Downtown Toledo Improvement District should consider ways to prevent adult entertainment businesses from returning to this growing, family-friendly area of Toledo.
I understand this is contrary to Toledo Free Press’ general pro-development, leave-government-out-of-it philosophy. Everyone has a right to earn a living and the less government interference, the better.
But a sexually oriented business in the heart of an area trying to brand itself as a destination for families is a deterrent to growth and development. This is not an argument about morality; it’s a business outlook defined by the unquestionable guidelines of “location, location, location.”
Just steps from the home of the Mud Hens, a business that has been charged with everything from tax and workers’ compensation issues to solicitation, illegal drugs and alcohol handling issues detracts from the atmosphere of growth. It is not conducive to family foot traffic.
As a resident of the block, raising two small children, I am keenly aware of how visiting families perceive our corner of Downtown Toledo and the imaginary boundaries they draw in their minds as they experience Downtown.
715 Monroe St. is listed as being owned by George Stamatopoulus, who is reportedly from Illinois and does not reside in Toledo.
Toledo zoning laws state that sexually oriented business is not allowed “within 500 feet of any residential district, school (K-12), religious institution, public park, public playground, public library, pre-school, child day care, or other use established specifically for the activities of minors,” none of which apply here.
My understanding is that while Marilyn’s is closed, its permit to operate a sexually oriented business remains in effect for one year and it could reopen, as long as it meets code.
Could enough interested parties join to take over the lease and “wait out the clock” so that license expires? It seems unlikely that in this environment of renewal, the Planning Commission and City Council would want to see another such establishment take root.
The Downtown business community recently showed that it can band together, regarding intersection names, and with all due respect, that argument was about an issue with nowhere near the impact of allowing a red light business to operate in the heart of Downtown.
Yes, such businesses are legally allowed within the city and state but perhaps the city could create a sexually oriented business-free zone or establish that no sexually oriented business can operate within so many thousands of feet of a sports arena.
Trying to shut down an existing business is bad for the city. Trying to keep a closed place closed is less intrusive. It’s addition by subtraction; take away an element and watch the remaining participants benefit.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.
Tags: Bronze Boar, City of Toledo, Cock ‘n’ Bull, Destination Toledo, Fifth Third Field, Grumpy’s, Huntington Center, Mud Hens, Packo’s at the Park, PizzaPapalis, Publisher's Statement, Quimby’s, SeaGate Centre, Spaghetti Warehouse, Swan Creek Candle, Table Forty4, The Blarney Irish Pub, Tom Pounds