On June 24, 2023, it was announced that the city of Toledo, Ohio will receive a much-needed $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to comprehensively renovate and modernize roadway and utility infrastructure to help revitalize the Junction and Uptown neighborhoods.
Secured through the USDOT’s highly competitive Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program, the award will support the $52.9 million Connecting Toledo Neighborhoods to Opportunity (CTNO) project.
The project aims to catalyze the growth of the Toledo Social Innovation District (TSID), which will accelerate job creation, investment, and workforce development and bring equitable, broad-based economic opportunity to one of Toledo’s most disadvantaged areas.
“Reconnecting neighborhoods and making our cities safer and more walkable improves road safety and pedestrian safety for a true win-win,” said U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09). “I want to congratulate Mayor Kapszukiewicz and the City of Toledo on this forward-thinking initiative and look forward to joining our downtown and Junction area neighbors in celebrating the reconnection of these communities so important to Toledo’s history and its future.”
Thirty-eight city blocks will receive a suite of infrastructure improvements, including the installation of new water and sanitary utilities, road reconstruction and resurfacing, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and streetscapes.
Additionally, the project includes plans for the creation of a new Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) Mobility Hub and the construction of a 0.75-mile multi-use path on Dorr St. in the Junction neighborhood.
“Today, we celebrate a remarkable milestone in the growth and progress of our city. This grant will ignite a new era of innovation and transformation for the Uptown and Junction neighborhoods,” said Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz.
“Our plan to enhance pedestrian safety, expand bicycle infrastructure, and create vibrant streetscapes will tie together fragmented active transportation networks and connect Toledo residents to new opportunities, new jobs, and new quality of life,” he added.
“This grant empowers us to nurture a thriving Toledo Social Innovation District that will define the next 50 years in Toledo’s history,” Mayor Kapszukiewicz continued. “The impact this project will have on our community cannot be overstated, and I am filled with gratitude for the support from all our partners who have brought us to this day.”
The CTNO project is a key component of a larger regional workforce and economic development initiative aimed at improving the Toledo Region’s resiliency and cultivating a diverse workforce.
In 2021, regional leaders collaborated to create the Toledo Region Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which outlines various goals, including the establishment of a regional innovation district to drive collaboration, investment, and high-tech job creation.
The project implements recommendations of the TSID Framework Plan, which provides recommendations for improving connectivity between the TSID and surrounding neighborhoods that face economic challenges.
“This project aligns with our larger regional economic development strategy, and we are confident that it will attract private-sector investment, promote sustainability, and make Toledo a more competitive and vibrant city,” said Brandon Sehlhorst, Director of the City’s Department of Economic Development.
A core component of the project’s strategy is improving safety and mobility for area residents, particularly pedestrians and cyclists, according to Sehlhorst. Currently, the Uptown and Junction areas have higher per-capita rates of crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists than the city as a whole, including a 2021 pedestrian fatality on Dorr St. in Junction.
The planned multi-use path along Dorr St., from Washington St. to Forest Ave. near the Mott Branch Library in Junction, aims to reduce pedestrian and bicycle crash risk. The path will also provide improved access across Interstate 75, which created a barrier between Junction and the nearby neighborhoods when it was constructed in the 1960s.
All images courtesy of the City of Toledo.