Today's Blade editorial on the pending foreclosure of the Hillcrest Hotel makes some good points, but misses the major one.
For background, the city of Toledo issued bonds to back the redevelopment of the 'historic' building. Yes, many famous people stayed in this hotel and the building does have architectural and historical value, but was/is it worth the $6.7 million for which the city may be on the hook?
Since 2001, the owners have had trouble making their payments. I guess this point stands out because if you've had trouble making payments for seven years, don't you think someone would have paid attention to the problem long before now???
The major point missed by the editorial board isn't the 'what' but the 'who.' The 'what' is the esoteric value of a historical building. The 'who' is who should pay for it. In the editorial board's collective minds, the 'who' is you and me.
It's funny, but they never even consider that someone other than the taxpayer should assume the responsibility for this structure. They seem to think it is okay for city elected officials to 'risk' our tax dollars in the hopes of success. If they and their publisher are so intent on saving old buildings, why don't they form a non-profit, fund it, and do just that? If the rewards are worth the risk, why don't they risk their own dollars? And just how much is that Block Foundation worth these days?
Just like government, it's much easier for them to tell others how to spend money that doesn't belong to them - namely, tax dollars that you and I pay that should, instead, be spent on essential city services. Doesn't The Blade even wonder about how many roads could have been repaved or police cars bought with that money? Or even how much better off the city would be if those funds had been used, instead, for a new financial computer system???
I guess not.
Frivolous government spending is part of the reason Toledo is losing businesses and population. It's not because we don't have enough historic buildings in the downtown area. It's because we spend limited tax dollars for these kinds of things instead of for the essentials that government should provide.
For years, The Blade has insisted upon public spending for various projects that they think are important...and I'm tired of it. Stop telling us how to spend our money and start spending your own.