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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tim Schwanger Letter To Editor (Plus Video)

This is a letter to the editor from Tim Schwanger regarding the Marina District:

We tossed away our rose colored glasses long ago regarding the Marina District Project at Battery Park and we suggest Mr. Bedee do the same by first digging into the details of the project.

We prefer to compare the Marina District Project with the Paper District Project as we City leaders never learn from history.

While the Paper District, specifically the Chesapeake Lofts Phase I, was a noble effort to bring development to Sandusky on PRIVATE property, the project has not come close to living up to its billing of "191 owner occupied residents and 70 to 100 permanent jobs" (see Erie County Auditor Web-page for sales). The year-round residents now at Chesapeake Lofts are to be commended for their dedication in sticking with the project.

If we cannot rely on a time tested, reputable developer like Mid States Development Corporation to follow through on their development plans at the Paper District, how can we expect an untested architect turned developer to follow through with development plans. It's been 5 years and at least 4 extentions since Mr. Eymann and Mr. Hanner first presented their proposal to City Commissioners. If the City had directed the pair to vacant, private waterfront sites, their project would have been well under way.

Let me interrupt you right there Tim, because this whole idea never sat well with me: The city wants to sell off public property at well under market value (in other words sell our property for much less than it's worth) - instead of encouraging a developer to acquire private property in a much more suitable location. I mean, come on. How hard is it to drive down First Street and find waterfront property in a near perfect location that's already located between the entertainment and transient marina amenities that the MD project promises?

I bet even Maxwell Smart could find some property on First Street that fits this description...

That last graphic was an overhead shot of the Apex Property. (Oh, but that building! Who wants to deal with that unsightly building!)

Okay, sorry Tim. You were saying...

Both the City and Sandusky Marina District Development, LLC admit what makes the Battery Park and Sandusky Bay Pavilion attractive for private development is the property is cheaper and easier {for the developer} to do the project vs having to negotiate for private land. The appraisal for the Sandusky Bay Pavilion site was based on similar property sales in Ottawa County from 2002 and 2003 making the appraisal outdated.

The original 11 acre City Hall relocation portion of the project began as "no cost to taxpayers" to "we'll borrow money to finance" and now relies on a request for $12 million in Stimulus Program funding.

Likewise, the Developer, through Strnisha Development Advisors from Cleveland, is requesting $12.4 million in Stimulus Program funding (toledoblade.com).

We agree with Mr. Bedee. The Marina District does impact the whole area. The entire country will pay for the private Marina District Project on public park property. We encourage people who don't live in Sandusky to call City Commissioners and let them know you do not agree with this type of "pork barrel" spending and they should be requesting Stimulus Program funding to create permanent, living wage jobs for Sandusky.

Tim Schwanger


Anonymous said...

The catch to this whole thing is that those 24 and 850 jobs are not permanent jobs. They will be gone when the project is finished and so will any taxes the city collects while the projects are getting built. Just one of the facts the city wants to hide from the public. Those applications are misleading and I am going to do whatever it takes to make sure those applications never see the light of day to the responsible parties.

Anonymous said...

To Tim Schwanger: Nice job on the layout of the facts. Imagine having to read this in the Toledo Blade! Never mind we are just taxpayers and being kept in the dark about all the facts pertaining to the MD project and how it will be financed. I didn't know that the city was going for a stiumlus package to build city hall, dispatch, and the MD project. I thought the MD developer had his own investors lined up, evidently, from seeing all of the facts you presented makes me think that the MD developer is looking for more and more taxpayers' monies to support his development dream. Looking for taxpayers' monies is a red flag. The MD project has no money and it will be done on the backs of the taxpayers. Our stimulus money should go for our needs and not a developer's needs. The guy has no money to back this project. Come December, the commission needs to cut ties with the developer because we are way over our heads wasting city money and resources on this project and trying to come up with funding for this developer. Our city services are being cut and layoffs are coming, but the city has money for a development.