Wrecking Ball Waits In Toledo

The Toledo Sports Arena is still headed for the wrecking ball – just a few weeks later than planned.

At the request of the contractor, the Ohio venue’s demolition date was pushed back to July 23rd from July 9th. The mayor said the date is not set in stone and may change again, according to the Toledo Blade.

The 60-year-old arena, which held up to 7,500 fans for concerts, is being replaced by an $85 million multipurpose downtown arena.

Because of the size of the construction site, the new arena will fit no more than 10,000 fans in an area as large as 250,000 square feet.

The preliminary designs for the arena were presented during a June 13th news conference followed by a public forum. Two additional meetings further discussed the arena’s architecture and layout.

"We want to make sure the public is going to be excited and supportive of what will go on at the event," Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop told the Blade. "We don’t want to build an arena and have three-quarters of it empty for every event."

Ideas considered include a public park outside the arena, an art gallery and a beer garden, possibly inside the venue.

Konop told the paper the construction team is "committed to make it the most environmentally friendly arena in the country." Public transportation officials are also expected to be involved in efforts to avoid traffic congestion and further green the arena.

Lucas County entered into interim agreements with three firms for preconstruction contracts.

Lathrop Co. has been designated as the arena project’s manager. Design firm HNTP, which provided an architectural basis for the arena, and venue management group SMG have also been tapped, according to the Blade.

The firms are expected to be involved with the actual construction, which is scheduled to start in October. The arena is planned to be ready for sporting events and concerts by the fall of 2009.

Fans of the older venue who weren’t ready to say goodbye were given a chance to take a piece of the arena home by purchasing souvenir seats – even given the option of reserving specific seats – for $10 each or three for $25.