This weekend's Toledo Free Press had a terrific section on Brain Gain that you should read. As one of those who chose to stay in Toledo and not leave in the first place, it's nice to read that others recognize the good things about our city. It's also nice to see them working to implement the changes they think we need in order to make us better.
There is also a column from Dr. Dan Johnson, president emeritus at UT, on regionalism. I had already read the article he referenced in The Economist, and I agree that there are good lessons to be learned from the cities cited. Unfortunately, I have a bit more cynical take on the potential success of such imitation under our current leadership. I don't believe there is enough trust between the communities to yet embark upon a regional approach to economic development. This is especially true in light of recent actions by the County Commissioners and Toledo's Mayor regarding water, the re-location of Federal Express, and the underlying perception that Toledo doesn't want to work WITH surrounding communities - but, rather, wants surrounding communities to work FOR it.
Finally, there is my Eye On Toledo column in which I take an updated look at the financing of the arena. I am more concerned now than I was in the beginning of this project because of the reported increases in costs for the new arena - up to $105 million versus the original estimate of $80 million - with no discussion or announcement of where the additional $25 million will be found.
Absent another source of funding, this project will require tax monies from county residents. So here is your chance to predict the future. I may be wrong, but I believe that sometime between now and the opening of the arena the Board of County Commissioners will announce that they need more money in order to finish what they've started. I also predict the logic will be that "we can't stop now when we're halfway through the construction, so you need to support a tax or levy or some other source of additional public financing."
Here's the contest: If you agree, leave a comment with your estimated date of the announcement that county residents will have to assume more of the costs of this project. In case you're one of the cynics who think the Commissioners will never make such an announcement but, instead, will just find a way to divert more public monies into the project, you may guess the date that such an action will be made public (either in the media or on a blog).
A $20 Kroger card will be given to the person who comes closest to the actual date. Get your guess in early because duplicate dates will be discarded.