Toledo Friday News

Friday, August 07, 2020

I am excited today to highlight two great pieces of news for our city: the Lucas County Land Bank acquisition of the Spitzer, Nicholas, and Port Lawrence buildings in downtown Toledo and the tremendous progress being made citywide on the conversion of our antiquated streetlights to modern and energy-efficient LED technology.

The Spitzer, Nicholas, and Port Lawrence buildings sit on literally the only corner in downtown Toledo where all four original buildings still remain. Without the hard work and intervention of the Land Bank, I have always feared that we might lose them. Now, we have a chance to bring them back to life for the benefit of all Toledoans.

As David Mann, president and chief executive of the Land Bank, said this week: “For too long, our community has watched these important buildings fall apart from abandonment and neglect, even as demand for downtown residential and commercial uses has skyrocketed.”

This gives Toledo a new chance to redevelop these historic buildings that have fallen into disrepair. Since 2019, the buildings have been the subject of a lawsuit brought by the Land Bank against Ergur Private Equity Group to collect more than $450,000 of unpaid debts associated with the properties. In early 2020, the Lucas County Treasurer filed parallel lawsuits against the buildings for unpaid property taxes.

Going forward, the Land Bank intends to partner with the city, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, and ConnecToledo, the downtown development corporation, to manage the properties, make stabilizing investments as needed, and market them for redevelopment in an open and transparent process.

Other great news for downtown’s momentum this week: the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded an additional $3.7 million in tax credits for the second rehabilitation phase of the historic Fort Industry Square on Summit Street.

Additionally, I anticipate the conversion of the downtown streetlights to LED to be completed soon.

LED Streetlights

We continue to concentrate on improving neighborhoods throughout Toledo. Toledo Edison contractors will be moving on to parts of North Toledo next and another contractor will start the conversion in the area of Hill and Westwood avenues early next month.

Here is the current project status:

  • East Toledo is 100 percent complete.
  • The area near Collingwood Boulevard and Central Avenue is 100 percent complete.
  • The Junction Neighborhood is 94 percent complete.
  • Downtown is 89 percent complete.

LEDs are more cost-efficient, last longer, better for the environment, and brighter than traditional fixtures. A pilot program championed by the FLOC Homies Union, a youth leadership program based in the Old South End, showed they could also help reduce crime.

So far this year, 7,528 new LED streetlights have been installed and by the end of 2020, we will have more than 13,000 completed.

We will have all of the city's streetlights converted to LED by the end of 2021.

The Census

Finally this week, at the risk of sounding overly repetitive: if you have not done so, please go to or call 844-330-2020 to complete the census.

Go one step further and encourage your neighbors, family members, and friends to fill out the census.

It is quick and easy to do. Cities depend on an accurate count and not enough Toledoans have completed the census.

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