Here are my remarks I offered today at our press conference on Dorr Street. We had a nice collection of student leaders on hand who were really pumped up about the proposal. I think it is a job creator for all of Lucas County and that's why I'm excited about it too. Also, with news today that Toledo ranks 196 out of 200 metro areas in job creation, we have to really get aggressive and think boldly about how to grow our local economy. In any event, let me know what you think...here's my outline:
Statement Supporting Establishment of a Student Village Commercial District
A quarter-of-a-billion dollar economic engine, the University Of Toledo fuels our economy as a major employer and a regional center for research and development. It is home to thousands of tomorrow's scientists and engineers, doctors and lawyers, artists and teachers, civic leaders and entrepreneurs.
Growing our regionÂs economy and creating jobs demands that we invest in developing our workforce. While it is true that people follow jobs, it is increasingly true in the 21st century economy that jobs follow people. Thus it is imperative that our University attract and retain our nation's best and brightest students, researchers, and faculty.
Three weeks ago I announced the Cool County Initiative, a strategy for growing Lucas County's creative workforce by investing in the quality-of-life amenities that citizens expect from their community.
Central to this strategy is the University of Toledo and its students and staff. It is for that reason that I am here today to declare that the establishment of a Student Village commercial district on Dorr Street will be among my top priorities when I am elected Commissioner.
The trend of declining enrollment at UT must be reversed not only for the good of the university but for the future of our region's economy.
The University's ability to attract and retain students is tied in no small part to the quality of student life. A redeveloped commercial corridor with shops and restaurants will attract students to the University and attract badly needed investment to Toledo's central city.
The popularity of this recently opened Jimmy John's sub shop is testament to the strength of the student market. The combined purchasing power of students and traditional area residents represents an extraordinary opportunity for businesses large and small.
As Commissioner, I will marshal all of the resources of the county and our regional economic development partners to help make this dream a reality. From establishing design standards to providing infrastructure and offering help with project financing, the county can play a major role in helping to transform this long-neglected area into a thriving urban village that will strengthen both the University of Toledo and the neighborhoods that surround it.
Most importantly, this initiative will help create jobs for all of Lucas County's citizens. In the 21st century economy, institutions of higher education must be directly linked to a community's economic development plan. Universities are research hubs that generate spin-off businesses. Universities also attract talent to a community which leads to economic growth by then attracting business and generating entrepreneurs. As Commissioner, I will make sure that the University has no stronger partner than county government. And that will be a benefit to all of our residents.