Consultants to devise master plan for city

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 17

A Louisville-based consulting firm will head the project that will define where and how Toledo grows in the next two decades.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said yesterday the Corradino Group will be lead consultant on the Toledo 20/20 Comprehensive Plan, the first major revision of the city’s master land-use plan in nearly 50 years.

“What we’re doing will lay the foundation for orderly growth for years and years in Toledo,” Mr. Finkbeiner said.

The plan, which will cost $300,000, will define development zones for the city, de termining where business, industrial, and residential development can take place.

The city’s plan is outmoded, Mr. Finkbeiner said, and the Corradino Group’s work should guide Toledo’s development for the next 20 to 25 years.

“At the rate of change we see today, anything beyond that is unrealistic,” he said.

Toledo’s master plan last underwent a wholesale revision in 1952. The Blade’s Toledo Tomorrow project six years earlier provided much of the basis for that plan.

Toledo Tomorrow was the result of a 19-month project sponsored by the late Paul Block, Jr., Blade co-publisher. A team of the nation’s top urban planners created what was then the largest scale model of a city ever made – 61 feet long – and predicted a Toledo filled with underground expressways, five neighborhood airports, and a strong system of neighborhoods.

The project was covered by newspapers in 47 of the 48 states and became a six-page photo essay in Life magazine.

“Since then, changes in the plan have only been done in a piecemeal fashion,” said Dick Meyers, chairman of the city’s plan commission.

Toledo 20/20 will focus on strengthening Toledo’s neighborhoods, Mr. Finkbeiner said. In the past, he has pointed to the Old West End as an example of the kind of tight-knit neighborhood he would like to see across the city.

“This plan will take Toledo into the next century with a vision of diverse and vibrant neighborhoods,” he said.

Two local firms will join Corradino in the process. Jones & Henry Engineers will provide infrastructure support, and the Corporation for Effective Government will assist in setting up public forums with neighborhood groups.

Corradino Group executives said their main task over the next two years will be learning about Toledo and its citizens’ visions.

“Our role is to understand the community, to listen to the community,” said Pat Holland, the project director for Corradino.

Mr. Holland said one of the project’s priorities would be “re-claiming the waterfront” from its industrial past, as a public space or as a source for new jobs.

Corradino has done similar work in cities such as Kalamazoo and Louisville, he said.

Other focuses will include limiting suburban sprawl and creating walkable shopping districts, Mr. Holland said.

Key in Toledo’s efforts will be discussions with such neighboring communities as Perrysburg and Springfield Township, places many Toledoans have migrated to over the last decade.

“We’ve got to look over the fence at our neighbors,” Mr. Holland said. “We’ve got to see what Toledo gives them.”

Mr. Finkbeiner said the plan will be completed by December, 1999.