TOLEDO: 2020 State of the City
January 30, 2020: Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz charted a
course for Toledo in 2020 and beyond by promoting needed
investments in the city’s roads and other vital infrastructure
during the 2020 State of the City address, which was delivered
at the Toledo Zoo.
The mayor announced what roads would be repaved or reconstructed
in 2020 and 2021 if voters approve Issue 1 on the March 17
ballot. The city will be able to repave or reconstruct 391 roads
in 2020 and 2021 totaling nearly 170 miles. Without passage of
Issue 1, the city will be able to repave or reconstruct
28 roads in 2020 and 2021 totaling 55.2 miles.
Both lists of roads can be found at this link: toledo.oh.gov/roads.
“It really comes down to this simple question: Are we going to
be content with baby steps of improvement or are we going to fix
our problems once and for all?” Mayor Kapszukiewicz said.
The mayor stressed that Toledo is improving, and highlighted a
number of accomplishments achieved during the past year. Those
accomplishments include a historic regional water deal; declines
in crime; completion of a new
Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation multi-sport
field; the 2019 pothole blitz; reduced use of capital
improvement money for general fund operations; an increasing
“rainy day fund,” and strides in economic development that
include accolades from Site Selection Magazine and
Industries, and job growth with new businesses like
“There’s no doubt Toledo is improving, but yet we’re nowhere
near where we need to be,” Mayor Kapszukiewicz said. “In too
many ways, we’re still failing.”
“The majority of our children are still unprepared for
kindergarten; the city’s police department staffing level is
still below what the U.S. Department of Justice recommends;
Toledo has the worst bond rating of any big city in Ohio; there
are not enough sports and recreation opportunities for kids, and
the roads are still in poor condition,” the mayor said.
“Are we improving? Yes. But we can do more!” Mayor Kapszukiewicz
said. “We shouldn’t be afraid to compete. We should want to be
the best, and we can do it. But as we start this work, we need
to see where we stack up with other cities.”
Toledo spends less per capita than any other big city in Ohio,
including less per capita on police, fire, parks, roads, and
infrastructure, the mayor said. For example: Toledo spends $41
per capita on parks, which is half of what is spent in Columbus
and in Cleveland, and one-fifth of what is spent in Cincinnati.
Even worse, 83 percent of Toledo’s general fund parks budget is
spent on mowing grass.
“Successful cities invest in themselves and there is an issue on
the ballot in 47 days – Issue 1 – to do just that,” the mayor
said. “In 2009, in the worst of the Great Recession, Columbus
voters were presented with a plan identical to Issue 1 – and
they passed it.”
Columbus is now one of the fastest growing cities in the United
States, the mayor said.
will do the following, the mayor said:
• Allow Toledo to spend $40 million a year on
residential road repair, which is four times more than what was
spent in the record-high repaving year of 2018 and ten times the
typical annual funding. Toledo will be able to repave 45 times
more roads – from 1.6 miles in 2019 to 72 miles per year, every
year, for ten years.
• Fund $20 million a year for police and fire
vehicles, and non-road related capital projects, such as
badly-needed improvements at the city’s parks, ball diamonds,
tennis courts, basketball courts, shelter houses, and senior
• Invest in Police by adding 100 new police officers
to Toledo streets over a five-year period, increasing the
department’s sworn officer ranks from 600 in January 2018 to 700
by 2023. That will be the highest level of police staffing since
• Invest in neighborhoods by fighting blight and
funding incentives to fight lead.
• Invest in youth and recreation activities six
times more that what is currently funded, allowing every child
in Toledo to participate in a sports league or other activity.
• Keep pools open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
• Provide universal access to prekindergarten with a
private sector match.
Toledo Councilwoman Dr. Cecelia Adams started the event
with opening remarks.
“I have lived in Toledo my entire life,” Dr. Adams said. “I have
seen a lot – the ups and the downs. Tonight, as we conclude the
first month of a new decade, I am more confident than ever that
we are moving in the right direction! At the same time, we are
at a crossroads and the time to make decisions about our future
a senior at Notre Dame Academy High School, introduced the
“Each new generation looks back to the one before it while
simultaneously looking forward to what is possible,” Miss
Sturgeon said. “I am looking forward.… I invest my time in
things I care about – my family, putting an end to gun violence
and equality for members of the LGBTQ community. I invest my
time and energy to get the results I want to see. The same is
true for all of my friends. We care about Toledo, as well. We
see what you see and we know that without the investment of
time, money, passion and planning today, the Toledo of tomorrow
will not be what it could.”
The speech aired live in its entirety on BCAN (Buckeye Community
Arts Network). It can be viewed at this link: