By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter
Demolition began at the former Park Hotel on Knapp and Broadway St. Wednesday, morning November 8. The former hotel will be razed and transformed into Lucas Metropolitan Housing residential housing for homeless young adults ages 18-24 with a tentative opening of 2025.
The Park Hotel has stood for over a century in the Middlegrounds neighborhood near the railroad station. Built in 1909, the hotel served as a rest stop for travelers until closing its doors in 2001. Since then, the building has been in disrepair for over two decades. This project by LMH aims to give new life to the structure and a new life to those it will serve.
Homelessness is an issue that affects many in Lucas County. Young adults who are no longer eligible for foster care or other childcare services are often underserved and overlooked. This young people in this demographic often stay at friends’ homes and in cars while often going unnoticed. The vulnerable group is at heightened risk of depression, substance abuse and becoming victims of human trafficking. Issues of homelessness also affect people of color to a greater extent.
According to Michael Hart, director of Lucas County Homelessness Board, during 2022, 1590 individuals under the age of 24 experienced homelessness in Lucas County and that number is increasing. He stated that 592 individuals in Lucas County could qualify to live in the new housing.
The development of the Park Apartments is a partnership among Lucas Metropolitan Housing, Lucas County Commissioners, the City of Toledo and Lucas County Homelessness and other area resources. The new structure will be a $15 million four-story building that will provide safe, affordable housing and a wealth of resources to help this vulnerable population.
The building will offer a multifaceted approach to tackle the issues by providing the young adults with education, employment and mental health services.
The project received $9.7 million federal loan through incoming housing tax credits, $3.2 million from the City of Toledo and $750,000 from Lucas County. Additional funding includes an affordable housing program subsidy from the Federal Home Loan Bank, the Huntington National Bank, Premier Bank and the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, said County Commissioner Lisa Sobecki.
The demolition should be completed mid-December, with groundbreaking tentatively anticipated in the spring of 2024. The construction will take 14-18 months with the new apartments opening in 2025. The Lathrop company will manage the construction.
Supporters at the event weathered the cold and rain under a tent provided by LMH. Gerken noted that the discomfort among those who attended reflacted the reality that those the building will serve face daily. Pete Gerken reflected “When I go home and I’m going to get warm today, I’m eat a pretty good meal and I’m going to be happy,” stated Gerken “I will feel better about that knowing in the future people and youth will have the same opportunity I have.”
Remarks included: Lucas Metropolitan Housing (LMH) President and CEO Joaquin Citron Vega, LMH Chief of Staff Rachel Gagnon, Ohio State Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson, Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken, Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon, Lucas County Commissioner Lisa A. Sobecki, City of Toledo, Manager of Tenant and Landlord Services Coleena Ali, Lucas County Homelessness Board Director Michael Hart, The Lathrop Company Special Projects Division Manager Ryan Gundy.