Sandusky Now! is critical of false Marina District info

SANDUSKY As November's vote draws closer, the debate over the proposed Marina District proje
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

As November's vote draws closer, the debate over the proposed Marina District project is increasing in intensity.

At Monday night's Sandusky City Commission meeting, Commissioner Dennis Murray addressed some of the rumors floating around about the Marina District project.

"To say that the Marina District would result in the loss of Battery Park would be inaccurate," Murray said, adding that the project will result in expansion of public access to the waterfront.

"For those who truly care about Battery Park, it's important we move forward."

The Marina District project calls for the redevelopment of the City Hall, Battery Park and former Surf's Up properties along Meigs and Water streets in downtown Sandusky. The property along Water Street at the foot of Meigs Street -- currently home to the Sandusky Bay Pavilion, the Meigs Street Pier, Damon's Grill and the Battery Park Marina -- could transform into two buildings at least 10 stories high featuring commercial space and condominiums. Next door in what is now Battery Park could be a seven-story hotel and more residential property.

Three-dimensional renderings of the proposed project were released in July by Meacham and Apel Architects. After seeing the 3-D images and aerial concepts, the Sandusky City Commission voted to approve the simple ballot language for residents to vote on in November.

Vycki Wilson of Sandusky Now!, a political action committee formed by Citizens for Sandusky's future in support of the Marina District project, also spoke about what she felt was the spread of inaccurate information about the Marina District project.

According to members of Sandusky Now!, the Citizens for Responsive Government group was handing out false information about the Marina District at their booth at the antique and flea festival at the Sandusky Bay Pavilion this weekend.

Tim Schwanger represented Citizens for Responsive Government at Monday's meeting.

"We stand by our statements," Schwanger said. "We're opposed to (the Marina District project). We are the 'vote no' campaign."

Some of the information distributed by Citizens for Responsive Government said that special interest businessmen would in effect take over the property, covering the green space with buildings.

"I guess I'm a special interest businessman, because my special interest is bringing jobs to Sandusky," said Jeff Smith, owner of The Better Half restaurant and Joe Sundae. "We're not going to get the factories back, but we can get something."

Wilson said that in her opinion, the Marina District project is the most important thing for Sandusky's economic future.

"Those putting out false information ... can damage the future of our city," she added.

Ex officio Mayor Dan Kaman said that the city-hosted Marina District informational forums will be especially important in getting the correct information to the voters.

"You'll get your answers right from the developer," Kaman said.

Marina District public forums are set to take place at 7 p.m., October 2 and 18 in Sandusky High School room 300.