Up to $40,000 sought for 'liveable city' push by Toledo
Fund-raising planned for London trip
By TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A committee aiming to bring home the title "world's most liveable city" to Toledo is trying to raise as much as $40,000 to send a delegation to London next month for the awards competition.
Dr. Richard Ruppert, who will lead the fund drive, said the goal is to send 15 to 20 people, at about $2,000 each. "That would be my guess," he said.
He said the fund drive would pay for those who can't pay their own way.
Mayor Carty Finkbeiner called community leaders together yesterday for a news conference in International Park to celebrate the city being named a finalist for the International Awards for Liveable Communities, which is endorsed by the United Nations.
He plans to lead a delegation to London from Nov. 22 to 26 to compete for the top prize.
Mr. Finkbeiner said he would pay for travel and accommodations for himself and his wife, Amy. He vowed that no city funds would be used in the process, including in preparing the presentation.
"We'd like to take a good, strong delegation," he said. He said some funds, about $10,000, will be needed to pay for a 12-minute video presentation.
He said a minimum fund-raising goal would be about $25,000.
The mayor said a liveability award carries weight when companies decide where to locate because of the importance of quality of life to their employees.
"It helps the CEO if he's looking at a package that has Toledo even with some [other city] and he can say, 'In addition, Toledo was just noted as one of [the] most liveable in the world.' That's a big plus for us," Mr. Finkbeiner said.
Toledo is one of seven finalists worldwide - and the only one from the United States - among cities between 200,001 and 750,000 population.
Numerous participants yesterday made the same point: that Toledo is a better place to live than most Toledoans know.
"I don't think people realize what a very pretty, easy-to-get-around-in, accommodating community we live in," said Dr. Ruppert, a former president of the former Medical College of Ohio, now the University of Toledo Health Science Campus.
City Councilman Mark Sobczak said, "The recognition tells Toledoans we are on the right track."
Terry Glazer, chief executive officer of the United North community development corporation, was not at yesterday's event, but said a similar effort in 1998 to win the All-America City designation spurred later investment along Cherry Street because the Cherry Street corridor was featured in that high-profile event. "It made people feel really good in the neighborhoods to know they were part of the focus for something positive," he said.
Toledo's application essay for the liveable city award covered a series of topics, such as enhancement of the landscape, heritage management, environmentally sensitive practices, community sustainability, healthy lifestyles, and planning for the future.
The competition in London will hinge on three individual presenters and an audio-visual presentation.
The other finalists are Edogawa City, Japan; Lyon, France; Malmo, Sweden; Manukau, New Zealand; Niagara, Canada, and Wenjiang, China.
Contact Tom Troy at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6058.