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"Putting Your Money to Work - Funding Community Vision"

By Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner

Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner discussed the City of Toledo's brownfields redevelopment and grant application efforts seeking remediation funds to clean up their sites at a session during the Brownfields '99 conference.  The City of Toledo's initial request for funding was denied but Mayor Finkbeiner asked the Environmental Protection Agency to provide assistance to show the City how they could utilize the resources that they had available. Mayor Finkbeiner worked to bring the City of Toledo's vision to fruition to remediate and redevelop it's brownfield sites by realizing the importance of seeing pass the current physical state of a brownfield site and envisioning the possibilities after redevelopment.

Two years ago Daimler-Chrysler stated that they planned to build a new Jeep manufacturing facility about 60 miles outside of Toledo. The City of Toledo began a campaign to keep the Jeep manufacturing facility from moving outside the city to farmland. Historically, Toledo has manufactured Jeeps since World War I and II when they were used for military purposes. However, present day demands for Sport Utility Vehicles required Daimler-Chrysler to expand it's existing facility. The land surrounding the current facility was not enough to meet these expansion goals and so it seemed the only apparent option was to relocate and build a new facility.  In this effort Mayor Finkbeiner pooled together Toledo's resources to draft a plan incorporating Daimler-Chrysler's design for a new facility. Mayor Finkbeiner's plan illustrated the layout of the new facility settled in a redesigned landscape. Mayor Finkbeiner looked at existing tracks of land where brownfield sites were located. There were several sites that could be combined and created into a sizable area for Daimler-Chrysler to locate the Jeep manufacturing facility. Although there were several obstacles to overcome including concerns by local residents, freeing up existing brownfield sites, and scheduling issues, Mayor Finkbeiner exercised political will and community outreach by bringing in the stakeholders and showing people the redesign and explaining the importance of keeping Jeep in Toledo. The City of Toledo also went a step further by leasing billboard space reading, "Toledo loves it's Jeep", outside a Daimler-Chrysler Board of Directors meeting in Seattle. The City's tenacity paid off with Daimler-Chrysler deciding to build the new 1.5 billion-dollar facility along the Interstate 75 corridor in Toledo. Mayor Finkbeiner stated, "We simply refused to surrender the vision we had of redeveloping this brownfield area."


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