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We’ve enjoyed the warm and friendly smile that is Toledo

My wife and I arrived in Toledo from the Chicago suburbs nearly 30 years ago.  We were young and full of ideas for the future and we decided Toledo would be a good place to launch our dreams.  I can honestly say, it was one of the best decisions we ever made.

Before our move, we came to town to “kick the tires” and get to know Toledo a little better.  I remember we stayed in the beautiful Hotel Sofitel along the Maumee River on a Friday night.  It was early summer and Promenade Park was rocking with a spirited ‘Party in the Park’.  Later that night, we enjoyed a delightful dinner at Ricardo’s while we watched the boats tour up and down the river.  On Saturday morning, we headed down for some shopping at Portside and then it was off to look at housing options.  After our visit, I remember our decision was very easy. Toledo looked like a great place to live – downtown was beginning to blossom and housing was incredibly affordable.  After dealing with a 90-minute train ride to and from work in Chicago each day, we were ecstatic about the potential of living in a community where you could drive from one end of town to the other in less than 30 minutes.  We were in love!

Alas, like many love stories that start with a whirlwind courtship, our passion for Toledo was tested about a year after we arrived.  In fact, things went south very fast.  It began with stories about banks losing money and local companies being taken over in leveraged buyouts.  Portside and the Hotel Sofitel closed, businesses folded and things looked undeniably grim.  But here’s the remarkable part of our love story.  Despite the bad news, not once did we ever consider moving away from our new home.  After living here just a short time, we realized that a desirable place to live is about much more than a vibrant downtown, fashionable shopping and convenient traffic patterns.  Don’t get me wrong, these are all wonderful attributes for a great place to live but we quickly found a quality here in Toledo that outpaced all others—strong and caring people!

From the moment we arrived here we’ve enjoyed the warm and friendly smile that is Toledo.  Need help finding a daycare?  Looking for a dry cleaner?  Need to hire a house painter?  How about a baby sitter?  No problem, our new neighbors, business colleagues and friends literally carried us through our first few years in the area.  They shepherded us kindly along our way to becoming enduring residents of one of America’s great communities.  Years later, through schools, church, service clubs, and non-profit board involvement, Deb and I have built very deep connections into this community and all of it is a result of caring people taking time to invite us into their lives.  Toledo, you are amazing!

Today, in the face of all the great things that are happening in Toledo, I still tell people that the number one reason for living here is the people.  Plain and simple.  Toledo, we love you.

We caught up with Tedd at the not-yet-open Middlegrounds Metropark. Although they were still doing the finishing touches to the construction and landscaping it is clear that it is going to be a wonderful addition to the city and the metropark network. Tedd believes the metroparks are one of the shinning gems of Toledo, he believes in them so much that he has been out volunteering the last few weeks at Middlegrounds putting in the hard slog to get it ready. Tedd believes in Toledo and puts hours of time and love in curating its history and giving guided tours. Check out his website for more information then spend fifteen minutes listening to his Tedx Toledo talk from a couple of years ago all about ReImagine Toledo

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