Let’s take a closer look at other options for the old Mott Branch library
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – A Toledo radio station nearly called the old Mott Branch Library on Dorr Street.
13abc learns about the controversy surrounding new plans for a health clinic inside the old library. We hear about the other organization that wanted the property, a black-owned business that the owner says would have been a better fit.
There’s a part of that story that people who didn’t grow up in this part of town don’t understand. The old Mott Branch Library means a lot to the community, especially the African American community. It’s called a crown jewel – that’s part of why people are so passionate about it.
The signal and sounds of Juice 107.3 radio blast through Dorr Street and they almost come from the old Mott Branch Library.
“I asked when it was still a library,” says Debra Hogan, president of Fleming Street Communications and WJUC 107.3 radio.
Hogan has sought for many years to relocate the Juice there. She submitted a proposal but ultimately Compassion Health, which already has a clinic in southern Toledo, was chosen to add a second clinic.
“It’s as if we were cheated on the process again. It’s the process that people aren’t happy with,” Hogan said.
Dorr Street was once a commercial and cultural center for Toledo and specifically for the African American community. Now that people are talking about revitalization, Hogan wonders why a black-owned business wasn’t selected.
“This is not what the community wants. They would rather see their community as a black business. Why would the first thing you put on Dorr Street to revitalize the community be a white business? Hogan said.
Some members of the Toledo city council this week raised concerns about the project, which was approved by a committee made up of African-American members, approved by the full city council, and a contract was signed.
The concern is that the city’s point person on the project once served on the compassionate board, which committee members say they were unaware of. Sandy Spang, the city’s business services commissioner, says she actually told the committee about her former position on the board.
Hogan has no problem with compassion health or his mission. She is concerned about the process of getting here.
“You pretty much smother the whole thing…even if someone doesn’t have a vision…to make it happen, you put a white company in there that the community sees as a duplication of services and you give them a jewel for a dollar after forgetting an African American business you should support,” Hogan said.
When Compassion was assigned to the property, there was a request for Compassion to work out an agreement for the Juice to use at least part of the building.
Hogan says they’ve tried, but so far haven’t been able to come to an agreement on how it would work and what the space would be used for.
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