If you pass through Toledo, Ohio, on Interstate 75, chances are you’ll encounter a large concrete lot standing in the shadows of a brick smokestack reading “Overland.” For nearly 65 years, this was the home of the Jeep. And if some groups have their way, the site could become a mecca for off-road enthusiasts.
Several groups, including UAW Local 12, hope to transform the 70-acre plot into an off-road “playground” of sorts, building various obstacles and dirt trails for four-wheeling. While the idea has been floating around for a few months, new discussions suggest such a development could be tied with the 70th anniversary celebration of the CJ/ Wrangler.
Bruce Baumhower, president of UAW Local 12, helped pitch the idea to both members and corporate management the other week.
“They loved [the idea],” Baumhower told the Toledo Blade. “Many of them have already stepped up to volunteer for a planning committee to make it happen.
Making it happen, however, may prove to be the trickiest part. For starters, the property doesn’t belong to Chrysler, but to “OldCarCo,” the shell of a company established during Chrysler’s bankruptcy proceedings. Previous discussions between the local port authority and OldCarCo to purchase the land have fallen through. The City of Toledo itself — already $48 million in debt — isn’t likely to contribute much capital towards the project, either.
There’s still optimism for the project, though. Some suggest the land could simply be leased on a temporary basis, allowing such a birthday bash — which could coincide with Chrysler showing off a refreshed Wrangler — to occur in Toledo.
Source: The Toledo Blade