Forrester’s at the Docks on Tuesday Sept. 17, 2013

We had a very productive FoT meeting on Tues Sept 17, 2013.  The overall feedback was positive and uplifting.  A group of encouraged residents and government leaders gathered to provide input moving forward into 2014.

We reviewed the FoT accomplishments sheet:

Then we used a conversation/world cafe agenda for discussion (participants discuss an important hot topic as a question resulting in recommendations, after a short discussion, they then move to another table with another question, etc.). Here are some bullet points around the 7 areas of discussion:

  • The Future of Toledo Initiative aims to promote positive, family oriented events, that are free to low cost in the Toledo Metropolitan Area.
    • Involve community leaders to create affordable family oriented activities such as a family day at various parks
    • Concentrate on parks and water activities – utilize our resources.
    • Rowing club opportunities.
    • Sand Volleyball – Arts on the streets – Summer Art Walks – Chess Tournaments at the parks.
    • Need a greater awareness of what there is to do.
  • Potential Jeep Trail location suggestions about where can we get 100 to 300+ acres of land.
    • The difficulty is that most Jeep Trails are on natural rugged, hilly terrain, which Toledo doesn’t have.
    • An opportunity exists to allow Toledo to collaborate with Rossford, especially in the area near I-75, or the brownfield next to Hollywood Casino.
    • Another opportunity is to use the Old Jeep Plant for a Museum.
  • It is human nature to focus on the 25% who are dissatisfied and make changes to appease them that may upset the 75% who are not. Let’s focus on the positive things or facts about Toledo, the 75% who choose to stay.
    • Toledo is a great place to live! Toledo is friendly, has lots to do, great assets, and is affordable.
    • Toledo is on a very short list of waterfront cities.
    • Toledo has a fine social networking system, and a caring community.
    • Toledo encourages collaboration and creativity.
    • Toledo has great transportation.
    • Need to tell the stories of those who choose to stay in Toledo.
  • The idea of a Business Concierge was well received.
    • Many people suggested making the service as accessible as possible, such as creating a mobile app to streamline (push) notifications – requests – business approvals – available grants.
    • No one person would have the skills to do this.  The suggestion was made to create a committee or a monthly panel to help integrate resources.
    • This would help us embrace becoming a regional community, and give us an advantage in the global marketplace.
  • Walkable communities are a good idea and implemented correctly will attract businesses and services.
    • Ensuring safety by having more of a police presence, and maybe bike patrols.
    • Attract people by creating the correct events, such as an art event, or a mini concert.
    • Provide convenient parking, good lighting, proper signage and green space.
    • Funding is the key to success for many of the FoT Strategic initiatives.Grant writing is 10% writing and 90% relationships.
    • Send grantees early drafts to ensure greater
    • Collaboration is almost a necessity in writing a successful grant, and establishing partnerships with other teams demonstrates collaboration.
    • Gather community comments to add to a grant.

One final question was asked of everyone and it involved sharing the need to help the Salvation Army provide school supplies to children. The participants were asked to discuss ideas and make commitments to action right there in the room.  They did and there are several organizations and people taking action to get more supplies into the inventory, starting now. For example, The Department of Public Utilities challenged the Dept. of Public Service to raising funds and supplies – who can raise the most?  The Mayor committed to having boxes out at Government Center, along with promoting the Fall campaign, and there are retailers, community organizations, and others who committed on the spot. Here is a list of some of those who have already offered to help:

  • Herzing University is setting up a collection point
  • Block Watch Leaders
  • Dept of Public Service (DPS) vs Dept of Public Utilities challenge
  • Board of Community Relations
  • Government center – boxes on every floor to collect supplies
  • Polish American Community of Toledo (PACT)
  • YMCA Christian Emphasis team
  • Health Dept said they’d have a “Jeans Day”  to collect donations
  • Point Place Business Association

Learn more at:

Watch for the full meeting report to be finished soon.

The Future of Toledo Initiative connects government and community to maximize existing, emerging, and new programs in order to do more.

FoT Strategic Action Plan:

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