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Driscoll Alumni Center Rm 1002
2801 W Bancroft St MS 319
Toledo, Ohio 43606
A single, monumental crash to the ground sent enthusiasm soaring for a community development project and a new “gateway” to The University of Toledo.
The June 16 demolition of a former BP gas station at the corner of Dorr Street and Secor Road was the first major step in the revitalization of the Dorr Street Gateway, near the southwest corner of UT’s main campus.
Calling the demolition ceremony a “symbolic occasion,” Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, UT president, said the event exemplified the University’s commitment both to its students and the community.
He noted that the Dorr Street project is a fitting component for the University’s strategic plan, which includes enhancing a sense of community on UT campuses and in the surrounding areas. “We continue our commitment to creating an environment that connects, in a seamless and appropriate way, the neighboring environment around us,” said Dr. Jacobs.
The former BP land was purchased by the UT Foundation last year. The location is considered key to the overall development strategy that the University and Foundation are formulating with key stakeholders. Other buildings scheduled to be razed include the former Napa Auto Parts, Papa John’s Pizza, Kwick Clean Car Wash and an automotive repair shop.
All of the sites will be converted to green space, pending completion of UT’s overall strategic land-use plan scheduled for September. Tentative plans, however, include an environment in which residents can live, work, learn and play.
Toledo councilwoman Wilma Brown said the project “symbolizes a unity of purpose” between the University and neighboring community groups.
She said the relationship between the University and members of the Secor Gardens community has flourished in recent years, partly due to UT allowing residents and stakeholders’ input into development decisions. “It’s a big financial commitment by the University to make this a community, not just a place for learning,” she explained.
“Our efforts working with various community groups have helped establish credibility with the neighbors, so they understand our wish to partner with them for everyone’s benefit,” said Brenda Lee, UT Foundation president. “We hope to create a clean, safe and attractive community, built on a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration.”
“By strengthening the area near campus, our goal is to enhance the sense of place for both our students and the residents of Toledo,” she said.
In 2008, UT and the UT Foundation were recipients of a community development award from the City of Toledo’s Department of Neighborhoods.
“We’ve spent the last couple of years talking with our neighbors to ensure we all share the same vision for Dorr Street,” said Matt Schroeder, vice president for real estate and development for the UT Foundation. “We think we’re well on our way to creating a plan that will result in a ripple effect of positive developments.”