Thursday, May 16, 2002

Business group in Toledo wants new arena downtown

The Associated Press

        TOLEDO — A group of business leaders is proposing that an arena be built next to the city's new downtown ballpark instead of along the Maumee River.

        The group hired Michigan real estate developer Philip Levin. Building the arena near the ballpark and convention center makes more sense, said Mr. Levin, of Grand Rapids.

        That site would allow for more downtown development and would save money because much of the needed parking already exists, he said.

        Private developers previously proposed building an arena along the river across from downtown as part of a new waterfront entertainment district.

        The area is home to an abandoned power plant overgrown with weeds. Developers want to clear the site for restaurants, offices, apartments and a marina.

        Mayor Jack Ford said the arena should be built along the river.

        In September, voters approved waiving a section of the city charter to clear the way for the $191 million entertainment district.

        City Council, meanwhile, is expected to vote next week on whether to hire developer Tom Chema to oversee the development along the river.

        Mr. Chema oversaw construction of Fifth Third Field, which is the new ballpark for the Toledo Mud Hens.


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