Public feedback for Toledo recovery money presented

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 6:32 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The public has spoken, and we now have a better idea of where Toledoans want to spend new dollars coming from Washington D.C.

There are plenty of ideas on how to spend $180 million that’s on the way.

Too many boarded up and abandoned homes dot Toledo neighborhoods. Many may come down with these recovery dollars. The top category residents supported was “safe and livable neighborhoods.”

Inside that category, “demolition of abandoned homes” scored highest. Another popular item to be addressed was “replacement of lead water service lines.”

“More people ranked this particular item first than anything else in the entire survey,” said David Mann, an advisor to Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz.

This feedback will help council and the mayor’s office determine how to spend the money. “Safe and livable neighborhoods” along with “youth, recreation and parks” were top priorities.

“Those are the issues that tend to cause people to decide to move somewhere else,” said Toledo City councilman Rob Ludeman.

One concern from the data was demographics. Only 14% of respondents said they were African American, 58% said they were white and 14% didn’t respond. Council members wanted to make sure all viewpoints were considered.

“Because this money is prioritizing communities of color also communities that live in poverty. I think it’s very important for us to make sure that data is clear,” said Toledo city councilwoman Dr. Tiffany Preston Whitman.

Dr. Preston Whitman attended the public input meetings and believes the percentages may not show minority communities but the input she heard at the actual meetings matches this presentation.

“I think it’s being heard. Like I said, whether it was the meeting and the survey it was pretty consistent from what I had heard when I was attending the meetings and also look through the results,” she said.

One thing made clear is that these dollars are not to be socked away in savings or a trust fund.

“The intent seems to be very, very clear -- the US Department of Treasury wants this money to be spent,” said Mann.

The mayor’s administration will take all that data and put together an ordinance for council that will come to them in early to mid October. Council is then expected to vote on that ordinance by the end of the year.

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