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Giving a boost to Lowertown

Anyone who has cruised along Summit Street just north of downtown in recent years has noticed a change. The neighborhood has some new businesses, new plans for the riverfront, and a new energy. What it needs is a little boost from the city.

Neighborhood leaders, including owners of some of those new bars and restaurants, are asking Toledo City Council to designate Lowertown an entertainment district to help keep the area’s revival going.

Such a designation would not only recognize the rapidly revitalizing neighborhood as a hub for dining and other entertaining, but it would allow for more liquor licenses in the district, giving a boost to development.

Entrepreneurs have created exciting opportunities in the neighborhood in recent years. Toledo Spirits Co. opened its cocktail bar, Bellwether, there. And developers Fred Treuhaft and Blake Underwood have created plans for a multi-million- dollar Gateway at Lower Town project that will include refurbishing the former Westminster Church and converting it into office space with a second-floor mezzanine. Other development plans call for restaurants and a pedestrian walkway on Ostrich Lane. Renderings call for murals on the sides of buildings and new facades for the structures in the Gateway project.

The visionaries investing in this area see its potential, imagining that it could be like Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood or the Short North in Columbus.

This is a big turn around for one of the city’s oldest — and one of its most downtrodden in recent decades — neighborhoods. It also promises to continue redevelopment along the city’s waterfront from downtown down river through more city neighborhoods.

The future of Lowertown looks bright. City officials should be looking for every opportunity to encourage and support this. Considering an official entertainment district designation is a good place to start.


Posted By: The Toledo Blade on July 20, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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