Tag Archives: Toledo

Community Gardens Blossom in Toledo


The Toledo Blade reports the number of community gardens in Lucas and Wood counties is increasing significantly – from 30 to 81 in the last eight years.

A number of the gardens were showcased on a recent public tour. The Blade reported some gardens even raise chickens and turkeys, and feature art to add vibrancy to the neighborhood.

The article goes on to add,”Raising thousands of pounds of food, these gardens are located at churches, schools, and in empty lots. Typically grown in improved soils without pesticides or chemicals, the vegetables feed the folks who raise them. Much of the bounty is donated to food banks.”

The story doesn’t explicitly state this, but a number of the gardens are located in low-income or central city areas, such as Ten Eyck Tower, a public housing complex.

I feel like we’ve had a lot of depressing Rust Belt news this week, so it is nice to have a positive story.


Filed under Featured, Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Urban Farming

A Disturbing Crime in Toledo


Last month, 66-year-old Robert Brundage was riding his bicycle home from a Jobs with Justice meeting at the library in Toledo’s Old West End neighborhood.

Around 6:30 p.m., he was knocked off his bike by a 15-year-old who lives nearby; the teen stole Brundage’s bicycle. Brundage died.

Brundage was well-known to many in the city – he was often seen riding his bike, or attending board or other meetings for the Collingwood Arts Center, the Toledo Poetry Foundation, the Urban Coalition, the MultiFaith Council of Northwest Ohio, Toledo Area Jobs With Justice Coalition, Community Shares of Northwest Ohio, Toledo Grows, Toledo Central City Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, and the Toledo Metroparks, The Blade reported.

His death has shocked and horrified many in the city and especially in his Old West End neighborhood.

The OWE is the city’s most distinctive neighborhood, made up of stately Victorian and Arts & Crafts homes where Captains of Industry once lived. It has a reputation as an area for young folks, gay people, artsy-types, bike riders, and is probably the city’s most racially integrated neighborhood, where black and white residents live side by side. It is a central-city area surrounded by largely low-income areas.

I don’t know what more I can say about this terrible crime.

Brundage’s memorial service is set for July 24 at the Collingwood Arts Center.


Filed under Crime, Urban Poverty

The Great Migration: One Woman’s Story


The Great Migration of African Americans from the rural, sharecropping South to big city factory work in the North was a huge transformation in our country’s history.

It is something people often forget about or aren’t very familiar with now, but its effects are still felt today in how we live and in how people view cities.

This story from Sunday’s Toledo Blade tells one 96-year-old woman’s story: from Greenville, Mississippi to Toledo, Ohio.



Filed under Race Relations

Enjoying Toledo’s Old West End Festival


I spent last Saturday and Sunday in a happy fog of house parties, porch sitting, chatting with old and new friends, garage sales, home tours, an art fair, a parade, and yummy food vendors – otherwise known as the annual Old West End festival.

For all you non-Toledoans, this neighborhood is a spectular display of architecture – left over from when it was home to numerous Captains of Industry in Toledo’s more prosperous years. Neighborhood boosters will tell you it is the largest neighborhood of restored late Victorian, Edwardian, and Arts & Crafts homes in the United States, or at least east of the Mississippi.



Some photos from the crazy characters in the parade:



Who is that cute girl holding the Toledo Choose Local sign?


You can be sure ice cream was involved:


You can find a little bit of history about the annual festival and King Wamba parade here, on the Old West End Association’s web site. The short version: in 1909, when Toledo was more of a booming, manufacturing metropolis, full of titans of industry, local civic boosters decided they wanted to create a sort of “Mardi Gras of the North” here.

I only had time for one house tour, the unbelievably massive Willys-Tillinghast House, built in 1901 for Alvin B. Tillinghast, a licorice magnate. (Who knew it was such a lucrative business?) The home was later owned by “one of Toledo’s great automotive industrialists, John North Willys, who founded Willys-Overland,” the company which later became that iconic Toledo auto, the Jeep.

These pictures do not capture how awesome this house is, but I wanted to show the amazing and beautiful details:



You can read the Toledo Blade’s coverage  here.

What an amazing weekend. I can’t wait until next year!


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Filed under Featured, Good Ideas, The Big Urban Photography Project

Blog Spotlight: EnjoyingToledo.com

Regular Rust Wire readers know that we enjoy highlighting our favorite blogs.

This is a real gem and one I check regularly: EnjoyingToledo.com.


I love the font, photos, brief yet informative posts, and just the idea of it – as the blog’s author writes,

“The more I learn about the history of this city, the more I think Toledo is really a very special place. It’s sad to see that some people don’t see it this way… so this is my blog about all of the great things in Toledo (and surrounding areas)—people, places, restaurants, events and more.”

I enjoy Enjoying Toledo!


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Filed under Featured, Good Ideas, Rust Belt Blogs

Debating Residency Requirements

The Buffalo News’ “The ‘Burbs” blog posed a question yesterday that has been asked by many a municipality: should public employees be required to live where they work?


(Sorry for this lame picture. I couldn’t think of any other way to illustrate this story.)

Their post dealt with the Buffalo suburb of Amherst, but it’s a question that has been asked throughout our region.

Typically, municipal leaders – and oftentimes voters as well – favor such rules, which are often opposed by police and firefighters unions.

This has been a hot topic in Ohio with most of the state’s big cities, like Cleveland, Youngstown, Toledo, and others, pushing for residency rules.

The issue has even reached the state supreme court.

According to this Columbus Dispatch article, 134 cities and villages in Ohio have residency rules for at least some employees.

The cities’ argument – keeping employees close is important for public safety, and also keeps a large group of reliably middle-class workers within the city’s borders.

A Lorain city official once expressed his view on the subject to me this way, “If the city is good enough for you to take our money, it’s good enough for you to live here.”

Workers argue they should be able to live where they want, and “For far too long, a few cities have held their police officers hostage to high taxes, poor schools and mismanagement of municipal services,” an FOP attorney is quoted as saying in this story.

What do you think?



Filed under Featured, Politics, regionalism

Akron Mayor Under Fire

    Akron’s long-time mayor Don Plusquellic, a pioneer in regional economic development who has been credited with helping double the size of the downtown workforce, is facing a recall.

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic

    Former Akron City Councilman Warner Mendenhall, a political rival of the mayor, has gathered the 3,179 signatures needed to hold a special election this summer to recall Plusquellic, The Plain Dealer reports.

    The special election will cost Akron taxpayers $175,000. Worse, The Plain Dealer reports that the special election favors Plusquellic opponents and few people in Akron are even aware of the recall effort.

    Plusquellic has the endorsement of state senator Tom Sawyer, the Pretender’s Chrissie Hynde (an Akron native) and the county Democratic Party.

    Mendenhall, meanwhile, is not eligible to run for mayor because he owes the federal government $169,000.

    In a second story titled “At Center of Plusquellic Recall, No Burning Issue” The PD reports that the anti-Plusquellic group’s complaints are relatively mundane. Mendenhall says the mayor has not paid enough attention to city services.

    “There’s a principle that, if you are a strong leader, every day you are making difficult decisions that make people upset,” said Stephen Brooks, assistant director of the University of Akron’s Bliss Institute of Applied Politics. “The longer you are in office, the likelihood is the more people you will make upset. . . . After a time, you can collect enough of those folks.”

    Robert Stein, an urban-politics scholar at Rice University said, “It’s much easier to defeat an incumbent in a recall than to elect an opponent.”

    Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner was subject to similar recall effort this year that was backed by a group of suburban businessmen. The recall effort, named “Take Back Toledo,” would oust the mayor three months before his term ends.

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Filed under Featured, Politics