Today, Mayor Mike Bell and District 6 Councilwoman Lindsay Webb are expected to announce that they will borrow from the federal brownfields revolving loan fund to demolish North Towne Mall. You can view the press releae they issued here.
They claim that the building is in disrepair and is a blight on the surrounding community (though one might question how strip joints could consider the empty mall to be a blight).
As I travel past the mall on a regular basis I can attest that the mall, itself, is not in that bad of shape - at least, no more so than any other empty business in the city limits. The building appears to be fine, even if empty.
The roads, however, are another story. Over the winter, you couldn't see the potholes that were present due to the snow cover, but as soon as the snow melted, you could clearly tell that the holes and ruts were, by far, some of the worst in the region. One area I measured had depths of over 9 inches in an area bigger than a semi.
Borrowing money we don't have the funds to repay to demolish a structure that isn't really doing any harm doesn't make a lot of sense. What does make sense is to repair the roads that are the only access to some of the nearby businesses and let the owner worry about maintaining the building.
And if, by some chance, the building has issues which aren't evident from the outside, we have a housing section in the Toledo Municipal Court for forcing owners to make the necessary repairs. It seems that would be a more productive use of city resources than borrowing more money to demolish another building that someone else owns.