LOCAL VOICES: It's about public land, not class warfare

TIM SCHWANGER Spokesman, Citizens for Responsive Government
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Spokesman, Citizens for Responsive Government

The Marina District backers don't understand, nor will they ever, our battle over protecting Battery Park vs. the Marina District has nothing to do with "class warfare" or "personal agendas" or "anti-downtown sentiments."

The main issue, among others, isprivately developing our public waterfront when private waterfront is available better suited to the Marina District project.

An example is the Chesapeake Lofts project (a great use of the property). The Chesapeake Lofts/Paper District Developer is close to severing ties with the city leaving the Paper District two-thirds incomplete. Remember the up-scale restaurant, retail and commercial space promises? Add in the Deep Water Marina property and there is significantly more property, including a ready-made marina, available to transfer the Marina District Project to this private, city-controlled site.

Another example is the Apex property located on First Street. This property has 15 acres and is being marketed for commercial re-development including condos, a marina, a hotel-entertainment complex and retail services.

With Sandusky Bay Development,operators/lessee of the Battery Park Marina and Park area, throwing wholehearted support behind the MarinaDistrict at Battery Park proposal, the City has been unwilling to consider ouralternate development ideas.

Mr. Krabill well remembers the battle over Battery Park some 20 years ago. This time around Sandusky Now, the Marina District developer, the City Commissioners and Sandusky Register staff teamed up to "go all out" to support this project. The Sandusky/Erie County Community Foundation contracted a Marina District Economic Impact Study, hastily put together in three weeks in what normally takes three months to complete, documenting extremely liberal claims of 1,500 jobs, a promised "tidal wave" of $250 million in revenue and at no cost to taxpayers. Last best city financial figures indicate a new or remodeled off-site City Hall will potentially cost several million dollars more than a renovated current City Hall.

An Ohio State University Fact Sheet, and numerous studies, indicate "added residential development in any area invariably leads to increased per capita demand for publicly provided services, placing increased burden on local infrastructure and public agencies. As a result, increases in local tax rates to provide additionalservices tend to follow."

Again, we are not against private development-just not on the public's shoreline parks. We are sure some in the community would support condominiums along the entire Sandusky shoreline. We suspect they are the exception -- not the norm.