Democracy could handcuff progress with downtown development

Your 2¢ Should our elected leaders simply move forward with development? Send us a letter or post your comments online in ou
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Your 2¢

Should our elected leaders simply move forward with development? Send us a letter or post your comments online in our Forums.

Democracy can be an ugly thing. Take the vote by City Commission last week to put the Marina District proposal on the November ballot. What Marina District proposal? The one we’ve never seen. The one that inspired opponents to demand a ballot vote rather than a vote by their representative, democratically elected government.

That demand and that agitation began long before city officials unveiled a preliminary footprint of the redevelopment proposal. The opposition’s position is clear: Keep the Marina District the way it’s always been.

The only thing we know for sure now is the dirt won’t fly any time soon. The opposition has effectively delayed redevelopment at least a year, maybe more. Maybe forever. They did it before seeing any final proposal, and said they did not trust their elected representatives to make the right decision. City Commission acquiesced. It became clear to backers of the yet-to-be unveiled proposal that the opposition would never listen and would drag the project into court no matter what. We suspect more residents support the project than oppose it, and that support has been drowned out by a vocal minority. Perhaps we’ll see come November. Perhaps not. City Commission was forced to tell the developers to sit on their hands for six months while residents fight it out. We worry that might be asking too much. We worry that developers will fund other projects in other cities where community support is more unified and those projects will take precedence. We worry that a forward-looking community might just win out. We worry that the vocal minority might have just blown a great opportunity.