At a meeting well-attended by residents, council voted to work with Washington Properties and its founder, Mike Rose, on a project that promises to bring retailers and other offerings to the area.
The plan was presented in council meetings last year, but it was put to a vote Tuesday, as the council is comprised of new faces.
“We want to see what everybody (on council wants),” councilman Mike Snider said.
Based on the vote, they’re all on board with the preliminary plan.
“By voting ‘yes,’ we agree with it,” councilman Ron Aukerman said. Rose’s company is proposing to develop about 330,000 square feet at Waterworks Park, including the construction of a 170,000-squarefoot lodge, a boardwalk, storefronts and various retail.
The city would have to kick in about $6 million toward the project, while Rose’s company would spend about $60 million, according to the city. The first shovel is expected to hit the ground in spring 2015, Rose said last week during a meeting in Port Clinton. Jamie Beier-Grant, of the Ottawa County Improvement Corp., and Hans Rosebrook, of FirstEnergy, hit on the implications of the plan.
The project would create:
•500 contractor jobs during the five-year development period.
•$1.25 million in economic activity, from contractors spending money.
•585 new jobs after the five-year period.
•$11 million in payroll from these new jobs, based on an average individual salary of about $18,800.
Beier-Grant described the formula used to come up with these numbers as the “cadillac” of economic studies, saying it’s been used for more than 35 years.
She described the analysis as “conservative yet realistic” since the average individual’s earnings, about $19,000, applies to all 585 potential future employees — full-time, parttime and salaried. The number was calculated by using an average of 32 hours per week for each employee.
The explanation triggered comments from some in the audience during the meeting’s public comment segment.
“In the winter, you might have one girl working 20 hours per week (in a retail store)” one woman said.
Beier-Grant said the study took into account the dramatic seasonal changes in the local economy, and it largely used a conservative average of the data. The wage used in the calculations was $12 an hour.
Additional economic implications over the next five years would be:
•About $6.1 million in property tax revenue.
•About $679,000 in sales tax revenue.
•About $700,000 in income tax revenue.
Following the regular council meeting, public dissent came by way of questions.
One man asked why councilman Ron Aukerman recently said the city could not afford $2 million to develop the park, and yet he voted for a plan that would cost $6 million.
Snider said the numbers aren’t comparable. “With the $6 million, you’re getting a return on the $60 million,” Snider said. Aukerman agreed, pointing out this plan is different than the previous $2 million project. Snider summed up the meeting: “We’re getting something going”