Mayor's highly priced project sparks debate

One of Szollosi's concerns is that the city is subsidizing a private enterprise while other businesses in the warehouse district are struggling.
One of Szollosi's concerns is that the city is subsidizing a private enterprise while other businesses in the warehouse district are struggling.
Reported by Rob Wiercinski email
Posted by Kate Oatis email

TOLEDO - The latest effort by Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner to pump new life into the Erie Street Market has an $80,000 price tag, the cost of converting the original Civic Center auditorium into the Toledo Civic Theater.

And the project has other costs as well, including that of some members' good opinions of the project. Indeed, one member of Toledo City Council refers to the project as "Carty's Night Club."

One of those who objects is Councilman Mike Collins. In recent days, Councilman Frank Szollosi also began to voice his opposition.

The spending includes nearly $10,000 to move vendor racks and booths over to Bay 2, $6,700 for new security cameras, and $6,000 for upgrades to the phone system and stage power.

One of Szollosi's concerns is that the city is subsidizing a private enterprise while other businesses in the warehouse district are struggling.

He also says the $80,000 could be better spent elsewhere.

"If we have extra money for facilities, I want that money to go to facilities that the public uses, new park equipment for children's neighborhoods. We have current work spaces in the city that are unsafe for city employees," Szolossi said.

The explanation being given by the mayor's office is that each of the 13 contracts for this work is under $10,000 and doesn't require council approval, and the money is coming out of a city facility improvement fund approved by council earlier this year as part of the 2008 budget.

Council has a committee meeting next week to discuss the situation.