Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 30

Thread: Toledo VS Grand Rapids VS Lansing VS Flint

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Northwestern Ohio
    Posts
    9,327

    Toledo VS Grand Rapids VS Lansing VS Flint

    This week in Toledo, a local radio talk show host, ranted and raved about Toledo, Flint, union jobs, and the like. Whether or not there is agreement with his points (and there was "some").....his rant got me to thinking about four (4) Ohio and Michigan places that are close-in-size, somewhat auto-industry-dependent, former hotbeds of union activity (except GR).

    Even though Toledo's corporate limits population is the biggest of this group, they actually stack up in the metropolitan areas (2005 estimates) as such:

    65. Grand Rapids (767,539)
    75. Toledo (658,236)
    103. Lansing (455,929)
    105. Flint (443,947)

    Grand Rapids appears to be fairing the best in this group. Their industrial base is a bit more diversified, although a reliance on furniture may hurt them in the near future. The community is conservative and doesn't seem to be included in discussions when talking about "union towns".

    Lansing has had some big plant closings (Oldsmobile?) but I believe they have replaced some of those lost jobs with smaller and more modern (and more competitive) industrial facilities.

    Toledo has managed to pick-up some big auto-related plants, such as the new Jeep Liberty facility. But the outflow of industrial jobs in Toledo is a reality.

    Flint has been hit hard in this sector, too. General Motors' troubles do not bode well for many Flint-area industrial workers.

    Toledo's downtown is undergoing a mini-resurgence.....warehouse loft apartments, new nightlife places, a great new baseball stadium. But, it still is just a shadow of itself, as more and more corporations change their address to the suburbs.

    I had heard that Flint's downtown was in worse shape than Toledo's. Can anybody speak to that? Lansing's downtown may be quiet, but just down the street they have Michigan State University......probably a lively place. Lansing also has state government employees. I don't know about Grand Rapids' downtown.

    What is your take on these four (4) cities?

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,185
    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    I had heard that Flint's downtown was in worse shape than Toledo's. Can anybody speak to that? Lansing's downtown may be quiet, but just down the street they have Michigan State University......probably a lively place. Lansing also has state government employees. I don't know about Grand Rapids' downtown.

    What is your take on these four (4) cities?
    Yes Flint's downtown is much smaller in size. There is virtually no retail, at least there are a handful of restraunts and speciality stores in Downtown Toledo. There is no operating hotels in Downtown Flint either. There does not appear to be signs of a comeback, though new homes are being built in the city. This city has a lot of problems. The only bright spot is the growing U of M campus.

    Lansing. Lansing's downtown is not really all that comparable to Flint. It is the center of State government, and is only a few miles from a gigantic university campus. The main shopping district seems to be reviving. I'd think that this compares the most with Toledo as Toledo seems to have many govt offices (but Lansing has more), both have Ball Parks, Hotels, Exhibition Areas and science museums.

    Grand Rapids, seems to have done everything the textbook says but its streets still seem dead. No stores, though some services and restraunts have opened up lately. Hotels, no ball park, but does have an arena.

    Added: Kalamazoo, home of Checker Cab and many GM plants, Upjohn pharmacuticals too. Been hit hard but still puts on a good face. Checker Cab is gone, and the pharmacutical company is a back office Phizer facility. Lost quite a bit of its downtown retail, but it too has come back. Probably most innovative in unearthing a buried river. Has Hotels, but no ballpark downtown.

    Added: Battle Creek: Boring!

  3. #3

    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Solano County, California
    Posts
    6,468
    Are any of the Michigan cities mentioned worthy of a trip? It sounds like Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids might at least be interesting for this planning and architecture nerd? I will definitely hit Marshall Michigan and the coast of Lake Michigan.

    Mom is pressing me to visit this year. I really don't want to go in the summer (I hate midwestern heat and humidity), but maybe mid-fall?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Peter Bratt's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    113

    Grand Rapids

    As a GR native, I think that the city would be worth a day long visit.

    In regards to the comparison mentioned in the first post, I think that GR is better off than Flint and Toledo. Flint's downtown are simply devestated, while Toledo has some similar problems. Lansing, in my opinon, is doing better off than GR by the virtue of having the state capital "industry" and a top-notch state university. That said, GR will probably be getting Michigan State's Medical School moving from Lansing to GR over the next ten years, and this will certainly solidify the town as a center for medical work on the west side of the state.

    Grand Rapids (200,000) is surrounded by five suburbs: Wyoming (70,000), Kentwood (45,000), East Grand Rapids (11,000), Walker (24,000) and Grandville (14,000), with a total population of nearly 370,000 people. GR has been losing quite a few manufacturing jobs over the past five years, but has gain a substantial number of research and technology jobs. The same cannot be said for Wyoming, which is a manufacturing suburb which is declining quite quickly. I would hope that in the near future the city and suburbs would start merging government services and eventually consolidate. The region is conservative, but there are a fair number of "good government" Republicans that might try to provide more efficient government.

    If you do visit GR, I would recommend three trips. First, drive south on Eastern Avenue from Fulton Avenue to 84th Street. You can see all the different "urban developments", from the old city, streetcar suburbs, post-WWII suburbs and finally McMansion suburbs. Secondly, I would recommend driving on 28th street from Grandville to Cascade township to see how a declining commercial center district is affecting first ring suburbs (Plus, you can visit Schulers, the best bookstore outside of Portland, OR). Finally, take a nice walk in downtown GR on Michigan street from College/Michigan to Michigan/Fourth street. You'll get a good feel for the city center.

    Cheers,
    Peter

  5. #5
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    The Fox Valley
    Posts
    4,668
    Blog entries
    1
    A person could probably spend more than just a day in beautiful Grand Rapids. The place has got everything, especially when including Holland, Muskegon, and Grand Haven. The other cities are old industrial towns that have yet to come back alive. Union jobs?!?!...is that actually a selling point?...I hope not. The I-69 corridor is notorious for being lined with old GM plants that have/are being shut down.

    1. Grand Rapids...it has it all. Hotels, casinos, a successful arena, museums, huge parkland, multiple shopping areas, strong office growth both downtown and on the fringe, an awesome school nearby (GVSU in Allendale)...it is the heart of western Michigan. Did I also say it is Bush Country?!?

    2. Lansing. It does have the state capitol, and a decent state school, and its associated uses. But the economy is kind of stagnant and is kind of between a rock and a hard place with both Detroit and Grand Rapids gaining more attention.

    3. Toledo. What can I say?...Toledo is Toledo.

    4. Flint. What a dump. Wasn't this the place featured in the old Sim City 2000, as one of the 4 options you can choose from to improve an existing town??...Charleston had the hurricane, Oakland had the fire, and Flint had serious economic decline. Well, Flint still has serious economic decline and don't see it improving anytime soon.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Future Planner's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    On the edge
    Posts
    125

    Grand Rapids

    This former GR native just visited the city and downtown over the past week.
    GR is a great city and worth a summertime visit. GR is atypical of much of the midwest and enjoys rolling hills, has numerous wooded areas remaining in and adjacent to the city, and is in the process of building and assembling a 1,500 acre park and open space area (Millenium Park) on reclaimed industrial land. This park will touch four different cities (GR, Wyoming, Walker, and Grandville) and is alone worth a visit to the city!!!! Also noteworthy for GR is the Grand River that runs essentially through or next to downtown, with plenty of parks and walking paths next to the river.
    Downtown has improved significantly over the last decade, although it still lacks any shopping at all (as many conventioners notice) and any semblance of a big city feel. There are numerous buildings that I would find architecturally interesting, including numerous churches.
    GR is a beautiful place. As for livability, the weather is the limiting factor for West Michigan. GR is way up there for number for number of cloudy days and generally dismal weather.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,185
    If Grand Rapids is such a great town, why did all of its planners leave?

    Quote:
    Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    1. Grand Rapids...it has it all. Hotels, casinos, a successful arena, museums, huge parkland, multiple shopping areas, strong office growth both downtown and on the fringe, an awesome school nearby (GVSU in Allendale)...it is the heart of western Michigan. Did I also say it is Bush Country?!?


    Casinos in Grand Rapids??? Did I miss something? BTW, I'm pretty sure that Grand Rapids went with Kerry in the last election.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,185
    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    1. Grand Rapids...it has it all. Hotels, casinos, a successful arena, museums, huge parkland, multiple shopping areas, strong office growth both downtown and on the fringe, an awesome school nearby (GVSU in Allendale)...it is the heart of western Michigan. Did I also say it is Bush Country?!?
    Casinos in Grand Rapids??? Did I miss something? BTW, I'm pretty sure that Grand Rapids went with Kerry in the last election.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    1,460
    Well if you want to lump Dorr in as bedroom community of GR then I guess then we would have casinos, The GR chamber of commerce came out against the recent tribal bid for federal status to open up a casino in an empty warehouse in Allegan County.

    5/3 or the former Old Kent Park is our home for the minor leagues and a new music venue. We also have Frederick Meijer Gardens for concerts (los lobos tonite?, bela fleck, stanley Clark and JL Ponty last week )

    I attend GVSU's beautiful downtown pew campus, a new YMCA opeened up in the neighborhood too.

    A violent year so far though.and talk about murderous intentions, some of the freakiest cases of familial homicide have come out of GR in recent years.

    We dont live in the city though, I would keep my lakeside cottage and try for one the condos in the ren zone if we had the money.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    The Fox Valley
    Posts
    4,668
    Blog entries
    1
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    Casinos in Grand Rapids??? Did I miss something? BTW, I'm pretty sure that Grand Rapids went with Kerry in the last election.
    Kent County, which includes Grand Rapids and its suburbs went to Bush by a pretty significant margin. Nearby Ottawa County, which includes Holland, Grand Haven, and Allendale went to Bush by a ridiculous margin. Maybe I was wrong with casinos, but there is the nearby Great Lakes Downs in Muskegon.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Peter Bratt's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    113

    Election results for Kent/Ottawa/Muskegon Counties 2004

    West Michigan is a pretty conservative place, but some sections are trending Democratic. Here are the results:

    Kent County:
    Bush 59% (171,201)
    Kerry 41%(116,909)

    City of Grand Rapids (core city)
    Bush 44% (36,115)
    Kerry 56% (45,794)

    Wyoming (First-ring manufacturing suburb, conservative economically and socially)
    Bush 61% (15,924)
    Kerry 39% (10,271)

    Kentwood (First-ring, white-collar suburb)
    Bush 58% (10,474)
    Kerry 42% (7,694)

    Grandville (Second-ring manufacturing suburb)
    Bush 75% (4,959)
    Kerry 25% (1,627)

    East Grand Rapids (economic-conservative/social-liberal suburb)
    Bush 55% (3,807)
    Kerry 45% (3,107)

    Byron Township (conservative, newly forming bedroom suburb)
    Bush 78% (6,295)
    Kerry 22% (1,747)

    Ottawa County:
    Bush 72% (92,048)
    Kerry 28% (35,552)

    Muskegon County:
    Bush 44% (35,302)
    Kerry 56% (44,282)

    All data from the State of Michigan election website

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Northwestern Ohio
    Posts
    9,327
    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Union jobs?!?!...is that actually a selling point?...I hope not.
    3. Toledo. What can I say?...Toledo is Toledo.
    Any mention of "union jobs" in my opening post of this thread was NOT meant as a support or non-support of unions. Just the fact that Toledo and Flint both have long histories (often violent) of the labor movement in the USA.

    Not sure what you meant by "Toledo is Toledo". Explain?

    Bear Is Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  13. #13
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    The Fox Valley
    Posts
    4,668
    Blog entries
    1
    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    Any mention of "union jobs" in my opening post of this thread was NOT meant as a support or non-support of unions. Just the fact that Toledo and Flint both have long histories (often violent) of the labor movement in the USA.

    Not sure what you meant by "Toledo is Toledo". Explain?

    Bear Is Bear
    Just that it is a mid-range medium sized city. While it is not as bad as Flint, it isn't quite as good as Grand Rapids. It does have a lot of potential though, as it has maintained a good-sized population and a decent downtown. I just never hear people say, "I'm going to Toledo for the weekend." But then again, I don't live in Michigan or Ohio.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  14. #14
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,185
    Muskegon and GR are separate urbanized areas. There is actually quite a distance between them. There is 30 miles from the intersection I-96 and US-131 NW of GR and I-96 and US-31 SE of Muskegon. THis area is mostly agricultural with some industrial along the freeway. Including Muskegon in the vote comparison is not really valid as Muskegon is very much a blue collar city, outside of Kent County, and has hit hard times with never beinig able to bounce back from them.

    Thanks Peter for looking up the stats:
    City of Grand Rapids (core city)
    Bush 44% (36,115)
    Kerry 56% (45,794)
    I would be clueless on where to find those.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Northwestern Ohio
    Posts
    9,327
    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    I just never hear people say, "I'm going to Toledo for the weekend." But then again, I don't live in Michigan or Ohio.
    Quite true.....Toledo is most often NOT a destination. There were some exceptions over the years.....

    U. S. OPEN (Golf)
    The most prestigious (sorry Masters' fans) men's golf tournament has been played at Toledo's famous Inverness Course a number of times. Officials from that ritzy club continue to try to get the course back in the rotation to host another.

    OTHER GOLF EVENTS
    The Senior Open was played at Inverness two (2) years ago. The Women's PGA was played there a few years ago. Next week all the women pros will be at Sylvania's Highlanad Meadows for the Jamie Farr Open.

    PANDAS AT THE ZOO
    Back in the late 1980's the Toledo Zoo had some panda bears. Only San Diego and Washington (if I remember correctly) also had these visiting cuties. The crowds from out-of-town were big.

    EL GRECO AT THE MUSEUM
    In the 1970's, Toledo's Art Museum (a destination for many art lovers any time of the year because if its' collections and reputation as a Top 10 art museum) hosted as huge El Greco Exhibition. Seems that only Toledo, Chicago, and San Fran were hosts.

    Toledo had an edge.....its' sister-city is Toledo, Spain.....El Greco's stomping grounds.

    These big-time events don't happen often, but when they do, Toledo is a gracious host. (Except for a certain Cyburbian resident who had his car broken in to when visiting.)

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  16. #16
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    The Fox Valley
    Posts
    4,668
    Blog entries
    1
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    Muskegon and GR are separate urbanized areas. There is actually quite a distance between them. There is 30 miles from the intersection I-96 and US-131 NW of GR and I-96 and US-31 SE of Muskegon. THis area is mostly agricultural with some industrial along the freeway. Including Muskegon in the vote comparison is not really valid as Muskegon is very much a blue collar city, outside of Kent County, and has hit hard times with never beinig able to bounce back from them.

    Thanks Peter for looking up the stats:
    City of Grand Rapids (core city)
    Bush 44% (36,115)
    Kerry 56% (45,794)
    I would be clueless on where to find those.
    Still, 56% is not necessarily good news for Democrats, especially considering the ridiculous 70% Bush margins right outside the borders.

    I lumped in Muskegon and Holland as being nearby attractions because they are part of the Grand Rapids MSA and can be nice side-activities when visiting the area since they are only about a half hour away.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  17. #17
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    The Fox Valley
    Posts
    4,668
    Blog entries
    1
    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    Quite true.....Toledo is most often NOT a destination. There were some exceptions over the years.....

    U. S. OPEN (Golf)
    The most prestigious (sorry Masters' fans) men's golf tournament has been played at Toledo's famous Inverness Course a number of times. Officials from that ritzy club continue to try to get the course back in the rotation to host another.

    OTHER GOLF EVENTS
    The Senior Open was played at Inverness two (2) years ago. The Women's PGA was played there a few years ago. Next week all the women pros will be at Sylvania's Highlanad Meadows for the Jamie Farr Open.

    PANDAS AT THE ZOO
    Back in the late 1980's the Toledo Zoo had some panda bears. Only San Diego and Washington (if I remember correctly) also had these visiting cuties. The crowds from out-of-town were big.

    EL GRECO AT THE MUSEUM
    In the 1970's, Toledo's Art Museum (a destination for many art lovers any time of the year because if its' collections and reputation as a Top 10 art museum) hosted as huge El Greco Exhibition. Seems that only Toledo, Chicago, and San Fran were hosts.

    Toledo had an edge.....its' sister-city is Toledo, Spain.....El Greco's stomping grounds.

    These big-time events don't happen often, but when they do, Toledo is a gracious host. (Except for a certain Cyburbian resident who had his car broken in to when visiting.)

    Bear
    Thank you for informing me of the many things Toledo occasionally has to offer. It is why I ranked it ahead of Flint and very close behind Lansing. Now if only you guys built a new arena in town and attract hockey, arena football, and big-name concerts like Grand Rapids does, and it would be right up there with them.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  18. #18
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,185
    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Thank you for informing me of the many things Toledo occasionally has to offer.

    Toledo also has Maumee Bay State Park, Fort Miegs NHS, The Erie Street Market, Riverfront Restraunts, a Medical School, is only 45 minutes from Cedar Point/Put-in-Bay, and has events at resoted theatres downtown. Toledo don't need any of that the U of T Rockets play there and they are less than an hour from big name Detroit Teams, they also have a new stadium Downtown.

    Of the Cities list, Toledo has much more to offer than any other non-resort city in Michigan (with the exception of Detoit). Anyone who would think otherwise is just kidding themselves.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Northwestern Ohio
    Posts
    9,327

    Even More Impressive Toledo News

    Today's census bureau release shows Toledo has having the SMALLEST population loss in the core cities of the big Ohio cities. (Metro area numbers won't be out until October.)

    There is even talk that Cincinnati will be smaller in population than Toledo, when the 2010 census roll around. Of course, metro Cincy is huge and Toledo has very few suburbs. You would think that regional government would be easy to accomplish in Toledo, with so few other government jurisdictions.

    Not so, because of people like me. Sylvania and Sylvania Township are talking merger, which would create a huge suburb. Me no like. Me would have to pay EVEN MORE in local taxes. Me no like being taxed to death.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  20. #20
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Someplace between yesterday and tomorrow.
    Posts
    12,295
    The GF lives in Grand Rapids, so I am up there a lot, and I love that city. After some research, it is amazing how much improvement Grand Rapids has made in the past decade. It is very dedicated to revitalizing itís urban core, preserving itís historic neighborhoods and architecture, while enhancing changing communities to create safe, interactive neighborhoods. DeVoss and Van Andel have contributed considerable funds for large projects including a convention center, hotel, and sports arena. Currently the city of Grand Rapids is having a local planning firm develop a city wide ordinance that will take full advantage of Form Based Codes and eliminate Euclidean Zoning. It is expected to be the largest city in the US to completely change over to FBC.

    Also with Grad Valley State University, and several other colleges in town, two large hospitals, the BOB, apartment buildings, and several other contributors all located in the downtown, Grand Rapids Downtown will continue to attract new residents and enhance itís charm.

    Of the 4, it is the place I would want to be. Lansing has the college, but limited opportunity beyond that, and Flint, well we wonít go there. Toledo is not bad, but Grand Rapids has an assertive and active changing environment what is dedicated to continuing enhancing its existing options, while creating new ones for residents of all ages.

    For more info go to the following web sites.
    http://www.grand-rapids.mi.us/
    http://www.visitgrandrapids.org/
    http://www.grandrapidsattendee.com/
    http://www.vanandelarena.com/
    http://www.devosplace.org/
    http://www.thebob.com/
    http://www.grandrapids.org/
    http://www.griffinshockey.com/
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  21. #21
    Cyburbian DecaturHawk's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    In the palm of the mitten
    Posts
    880
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    The GF lives in Grand Rapids, so I am up there a lot, and I love that city. After some research, it is amazing how much improvement Grand Rapids has made in the past decade. It is very dedicated to revitalizing itís urban core, preserving itís historic neighborhoods and architecture, while enhancing changing communities to create safe, interactive neighborhoods. DeVoss and Van Andel have contributed considerable funds for large projects including a convention center, hotel, and sports arena. Currently the city of Grand Rapids is having a local planning firm develop a city wide ordinance that will take full advantage of Form Based Codes and eliminate Euclidean Zoning. It is expected to be the largest city in the US to completely change over to FBC.

    Also with Grad Valley State University, and several other colleges in town, two large hospitals, the BOB, apartment buildings, and several other contributors all located in the downtown, Grand Rapids Downtown will continue to attract new residents and enhance itís charm.

    Of the 4, it is the place I would want to be. Lansing has the college, but limited opportunity beyond that, and Flint, well we wonít go there. Toledo is not bad, but Grand Rapids has an assertive and active changing environment what is dedicated to continuing enhancing its existing options, while creating new ones for residents of all ages.

    For more info go to the following web sites.
    http://www.grand-rapids.mi.us/
    http://www.visitgrandrapids.org/
    http://www.grandrapidsattendee.com/
    http://www.vanandelarena.com/
    http://www.devosplace.org/
    http://www.thebob.com/
    http://www.grandrapids.org/
    http://www.griffinshockey.com/
    Can't really add anything to michaeskis' assessment. In the past year since I have moved here, I have found GR to be a wonderful place to live. The city does have some of the problems plaguing other Midwest cities, such as declining public school graduation rates, loss of inner city population, declining revenue resulting in eliminating services (most of the city pools will not open this year, for example). But the positives far outweigh the negatives. This is a great family town, and there is tons to do in the city as well as nearby areas such as the lakeshore and the many great state and county parks. There are few cities of its size that I know of that have as much to offer. Now if they could just eliminate winter...

    Although the planning department has been hurt my budget cuts, I'm proud of our efforts to promote form based coding. GR is a city of neighborhoods, and almost every one has its own traditional neighborhood downtown. Some of these centers have become quite trendy, and there was a fear that the character of these areas would be lost if some kind of control was not put into place. The FBC will preserve those areas and promote neighborhood redevelopment that respects the character of the city.

    Come on up and visit us sometime.

    By the way, I think Toledo is cool.
    SOME say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice.
    From what Iíve tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate
    To know that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.

    Robert Frost (1874Ė1963) (From Harperís Magazine, December 1920.)

  22. #22
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,185
    My reference to Toledo is to stand up for it. Too many times people equate rich, white collar and white with good, and poor, blue collar and minority as bad. The fact of the matter is that there is nothing in any of the cities that compares with what my little sister city has on the other side of the Toledo swamp.

    The money that paid the blue collar workers built impressive edifaces such as Art Museums. Look at the art collections of these cities and your jaw will drop. There is nothing in any of the other cities that can compare. Heck the riches of metro Detroit and its population is one of the many things that keep Lansing's University economy proped-up.

    As I menationed earlier, Grand Rapids has done all the right things, has assembled some pretty impressive projects, but yet there has been little pay off in terms of retail downtown. There seems to be more housing and institutional in Downtown GR which is very encouraging, but get away from Downtown and there are area such as Division that are still in serious decline. I compare this to Cass Avenue in Detroit, but streets like Cass in Detroit are getting new housing, stores, and restraunts. I don't see any of this along Division in GR.

    I do see similar streets such as Monroe in Toledo making some strides forward as well.

  23. #23
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,279
    I've said this to Bear before, but I think Toledo is a great blue collar city, and I mean that as a compliment. Blue collar cities always seem more authentic and seem to have a better since of community/more value of community amenities. Its downtown seems to be making a valiant attempt at reviving. There's still a lot of empty glass in the Glass City downtown though. Toledo definitely has great potential. The one thing that impressed me most about Toledo is the Metroparks system. The zoo is also quite impressive, not just for animal-lovers, but for architects as well with its unique historic buildings.

    The thing that hurts Toledo the most is its proximity to Detroit (well, it's suburbs at least). That is probably the principle reason for the low traffic at Toledo Express airport and the lack of major sporting events (still gotta love those Mudhens!). Tourism with Lake Erie really isn't an option since the lake seems kind of nasty compared to northern Lake Michigan. It does get better closer to Sandusky, but still isn't anything great. I would compare it with the beaches along the coast of Texas. They might be able to promote some of their parks and state parks though, along with COSI. Another killer for Toledo is their obcession with manufacturing. Their economy could really use some diversification given the trends in streamlined manufacturing and overseas production.

    That's my take on T-town...

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman GŲring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  24. #24

    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Solano County, California
    Posts
    6,468
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    My reference to Toledo is to stand up for it. Too many times people equate rich, white collar and white with good, and poor, blue collar and minority as bad. The fact of the matter is that there is nothing in any of the cities that compares with what my little sister city has on the other side of the Toledo swamp.

    The money that paid the blue collar workers built impressive edifaces such as Art Museums. Look at the art collections of these cities and your jaw will drop. There is nothing in any of the other cities that can compare. Heck the riches of metro Detroit and its population is one of the many things that keep Lansing's University economy proped-up.

    As I menationed earlier, Grand Rapids has done all the right things, has assembled some pretty impressive projects, but yet there has been little pay off in terms of retail downtown. There seems to be more housing and institutional in Downtown GR which is very encouraging, but get away from Downtown and there are area such as Division that are still in serious decline. I compare this to Cass Avenue in Detroit, but streets like Cass in Detroit are getting new housing, stores, and restraunts. I don't see any of this along Division in GR.

    I do see similar streets such as Monroe in Toledo making some strides forward as well.
    Isn't part of these problems a factor of the increased centralization of control and power in this society? Detroit is still a major economic center. Middle-sized cities like Grand Rapids (and Toledo) are largely now "branch plant" towns.

    For example, using my own hometown's past as a lesson: Fort Wayne had a classic downtown that was full of locally-owned department stores, shops, etc. Local banks and insurance companies anchored the downtown and the City's economy. The Detroit Pistons were originally the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons.

    Now, there is not a single major locally owned bank. Departments stores? Declining out-of-town chains own all the local department stores, which are encamped by the awful asteroid belt strip in malls owned by out-of-town real estate developers. The local insurance company? Purchased by a Philadelphia firm which moved the headquarters to Philly because the executive class doesn't want to live in smaller, less sophistocated cities (anc can afford to insulate themselves from the devastating social problems of Philly). The local elite is mostly real estate developers (at least Ft. Wayne is not completely dominated by out-of-town national homebuilders like the west coast), doctors, and lawyers. No paternalistic laregss is really available.

    How can a Grand Rapids or a Toledo or a Fort Wayne really compete with the money center cities any more? Power and control are so concentrated that the vast majority of places are completely relegated to the branch plant role.

    I am being somewhat polemical here. Still, I see photos of my hometown from the glory days of the 40s and 50s, and I remain unconvinced that from an urbanism standpoint things have "progressed" in any way.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    Quite true.....Toledo is most often NOT a destination. There were some exceptions over the years.....

    U. S. OPEN (Golf)
    The most prestigious (sorry Masters' fans) men's golf tournament has been played at Toledo's famous Inverness Course a number of times. Officials from that ritzy club continue to try to get the course back in the rotation to host another.

    OTHER GOLF EVENTS
    The Senior Open was played at Inverness two (2) years ago. The Women's PGA was played there a few years ago. Next week all the women pros will be at Sylvania's Highlanad Meadows for the Jamie Farr Open.

    PANDAS AT THE ZOO
    Back in the late 1980's the Toledo Zoo had some panda bears. Only San Diego and Washington (if I remember correctly) also had these visiting cuties. The crowds from out-of-town were big.

    EL GRECO AT THE MUSEUM
    In the 1970's, Toledo's Art Museum (a destination for many art lovers any time of the year because if its' collections and reputation as a Top 10 art museum) hosted as huge El Greco Exhibition. Seems that only Toledo, Chicago, and San Fran were hosts.

    Toledo had an edge.....its' sister-city is Toledo, Spain.....El Greco's stomping grounds.

    These big-time events don't happen often, but when they do, Toledo is a gracious host. (Except for a certain Cyburbian resident who had his car broken in to when visiting.)

    Bear
    Don't forget the Insane Clown Posse (Jugalo?) Convention we had a couple of years ago. You couldn't find Faygo on the shelves for weeks.

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. Grand Rapids, MI?
    Cities and Places
    Replies: 22
    Last post: 25 May 2014, 1:29 PM
  2. ArtPrize in Grand Rapids
    Economic and Community Development
    Replies: 13
    Last post: 31 Oct 2010, 11:42 PM
  3. Greetings from Grand Rapids
    Introduce Yourself
    Replies: 18
    Last post: 03 Dec 2007, 7:44 AM
  4. MSP conference in Grand Rapids
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 8
    Last post: 13 Sep 2004, 1:43 PM
  5. Grand Rapids, MI - your impressions?
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 4
    Last post: 03 Jun 2004, 4:34 PM