LETTER: Learn from history on shoreline development

Compare the Marina District with the Paper District as we city leaders never learn from history. While the Paper Dist
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Compare the Marina District with the Paper District 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 can not rely on a time-tested, reputable developer like Mid States to follow through at the Paper District, how can we expect an untested architect turned developer to follow through? It’s been five years and at least four extensions 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.

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 than negotiating for private land. The appraisal for the Sandusky Bay Pavilion site was based on similar property sales in Ottawa County from 2002-03, making the appraisal outdated.

The original 11 acre City Hall relocation portion began as “no cost to taxpayers” to “we’ll borrow money to finance” and now relies on a request for $12 million in stimulus funding. Likewise, the developer, through Strnisha Development Advisors from Cleveland, is requesting $12.4 million in stimulus funding.

We agree with Mr. Bedee (Reader Forum, April XXX). The Marina District does affect the whole area. The entire country will pay for the private project on public park property. We encourage people who don’t live in Sandusky to let city commissioners know you do not agree with this “pork barrel” spending and they should be requesting stimulus funding to create permanent, living wage jobs for Sandusky.

Tim Schwanger

Spokesman, Save Our Sandusky Parks