The Marina District
A Few Quick Points
Thursday, October 11
Developer Larry Dillin appears to have finally recognized that the Marina District needs to be primarily a residential neighborhood which is a good thing. All previous incarnations of the plans for the Marina District have shown loads of retail and office space - Toledo is swimming in vacant commerical space and doesn't need much more of this.
We don't really need more restaurants either because we have not increased the number of people living in the City. Therefore a new restaurant (and new retail for that matter) merely closes down existing restaurants (and retail) elsewhere in the city thereby causing blight conditions somewhere else within our borders.
This is not to say there shouldn't be mixed uses in the Marina District, there absolutely should be, but there should only be enough to serve the new neighborhood and should tie into the existing Main Street commerical district.
New residential at the Marina brings population back into the City helping the tax base and creating demand for EXISTING restaurants and retailers. Why would we want to help NEW businesses before helping businesses that are home grown and have stuck with Toledo through thick and thin?! We should not.
Our politicians need to remember that "Economic Development" comes through new research and development, through new manufacturing opportunities, and through residential population growth. Economic Development does not occur by putting tax dollar into restaurants and retail space - these businesses will follow the money on their own.
Hopefully the new plan from Dillin will include lots of brownstone type townhouses so that these new residents will both build equity (unlike an apartment that one rents) and be what Jane Jacobs called "eyes on the street." By this Jacobs meant that people who do not have a front door on the street (but rather a front door in a condo hallway) do not participate in energizing the urban street life - they do not add to the safety, diversity, social life and vibrancy.
For example, someone living several floors up in a condo doesn't take responsibility for cleaning up a broken bottle on the sidewalk - that is the condo association's job. Good neighborhoods whether in an urban setting, a suburb, or a small rural town requires residents who care enough to participate in the life of their neighborhood themselves. This gets to another point which I hope to address soon regarding the City being a good partner with these concerned neighbors and doing a better job of enforcing laws and codes.
Additionally, it will be very important for the Marina District to have a large number of public streets with small block size.
Wednesday, August 29
Sports Arena two weeks ago, yesterday, and today.