The Dorr Street Coalition Is Back and Ready to Start Again

Coalition Officers Suzette Cowell, Chairman, Sonia Flunder-Mcnair, Vice Chiarman, (Back Row) Bishop Edward Cook, Treasurer_ Rev. Jerry Boose, Secretary

Sojourner’s Truth Staff

Last week, the Dorr Street Coalition, which was  founded in 2007, was revived during a meeting of some of the principal individuals and organizations who were present back in 2007.

“We are stronger in numbers,” said Suzette Cowell, CEO of the Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union, who convened last week’s meeting and served as the facilitator. “We want to make this a real community project that will benefit everyone in this community.”

Cowell was the chief organizer behind the initial effort in 2007. That effort put together a detailed plan for revitalization along the Dorr Street corridor, including financial projections, traffic analyses and projects for various neighborhoods along the corridor.

The Coalition stumbled a bit as the 2008 Great Recession hit but in later years, the corridor saw some sporadic completion of projects – interrupted again during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now the Coalition is back. Present at last week’s meeting were some key figures such as Robin Reese, executive director of Lucas County Children Services, along with LCCS staff members, Pastors Willie Perryman of Jerusalem Baptist Church and Jerry Boose of Second Baptist Church, Bishop Edward Cook of New Life Church of God in Christ, Alethea Easterly of Quality Time Learning Center, among others.

Rev. Jerry Boose, Bishop Edward Cook, Rev. Willie Perryman

The revitalized Coalition will be holding a community meeting on Monday, March 28 at Jerusalem Baptist starting at 6 pm.

This first meeting, noted Easterly, will be an opportunity “to start a larger conversation,” about what members and residents feel is needed along the corridor.

Also present at the meeting will be representatives of the City of Toledo.

“Everyone in the African-American community is aware of what Dorr Street used to be – the commercial hub of activity for the central city during the corridor’s hey day of the 1940’s through the 1960’s. Even those who were not around for the glory days of Dorr Street have heard the stories – the numerous black-owned businesses, the all-encompassing shopping and entertainment environment,” wrote The Truth back in 2007 during the initial stage of the Coalition.

The goals are the same for this reboot – to bring the community together so that everyone along the corridor or with an interest in the corridor’s revitalization will be able to have input.