Smith: Committee should analyze relocating city hall

City commissioner Jeff Smith was voted down Monday after he asked commissioners to support assembling a committee to analyze the potential cost of relocating City Hall.
Andy Ouriel
Aug 16, 2012


City commissioner Jeff Smith was voted down Monday after he asked commissioners to support assembling a committee to analyze the potential cost of relocating City Hall.

The idea is not new. More than five years ago city commissioners began pushing the Marina District project. That plan was to sell the City Hall property to make room for development.

Despite broad support on commission, and a citywide vote in which residents approved the plan by a small margin, the Marina District went down after the developer failed to meet the financial obligations of the agreement to buy the waterfront property at 222 Meigs Street.

Without referring to the Marina District, Smith made a motion to revisit the possibility of moving City Hall, citing  a downtown study that suggested it “was the No.1 thing the city should do to stimulate growth in downtown.”

But Sandusky finance director Hank Solowiej, in short, said commissioners should forgo the idea of spending possibly millions of dollars the city doesn’t have.

“No, we don’t have that in our bank,” Solowiej said.

Commissioners sided with Solowiej’s assessment. The next strategic, or long-term, planning session, is scheduled for Oct. 1.

More on this story, including a look at previous efforts to move city hall and a financial breakdown, appeared in Wednesday's Register. Read it and the past seven days newspapers by signing up for the e-paper HERE.



 Wow, a government institution that looks at the bottom line before hamstringing the city's finances for a pretty new building and offices for bureacrats.

How refreshing.

Perkins Township must not of gotten the memo.


Hey, never mind what the city treasurer has to say about it all, the commissioners will go ahead and do it anyway.  There is one weak vote that the group will work on until the commissioner says yes and reverses his vote.  The building property is worth about 2 million and we need about 8 to 10 million to build and setup the new building.  It seems Smith's group has been a very busy little group while leaving the ordinary taxpayer out of the planning loop.  What does that matter anyway, we are the only ones that have to foot the bills when they come in.  Two phrases I hate to hear from the commissioners when they state to the taxpayer "trust us" and "it will not cost the tax payer a dime".   When you hear those statements, you know it means trouble. 







Why don't we use the data and conclusions from studies PREVIOUSLY done? That's already bought and paid for. Then put your committee (preferably made up of CITIZENS as opposed to politicians) together and let them update local information themselves by wandering around, talking with downtown businesses, accepting resident comments, chatting with area realtors, etc. And yes, I'd volunteer to work on such a committee in no small part because I agree with Smith it ought to be done!

T. A. Schwanger
Now I don't mean to pick on Commissioner Smith here, but he is making it easy.   Smith has never written and read a prepared statement since his election last November. He stammers a number of time while reading his prepared statement advocating a relocation of City Hall to "stimulate continual growth downtown". The presumption here is, since two members of the Sandusky Main Streets Association were involved in a City Commission "sale or purchase of property" executive session two meetings ago, his statement was prepared by SMA indicating Smith is indeed representing, as he puts it, "a handful of people".   Along the lines of Commissioner Poole's concerns shared during his taped comments, the community should be wary of Smith promoting a committee loaded with hand-picked supporters of relocating City Hall with a forgone conclusion supporting relocation before holding its first committee meeting.   On a previous ePaper story, a commenter stated a relocation of City Hall would benefit the entire community. How has the relocation of County Offices to downtown from outside Sandusky helped the areas of Sandusky that continue to be blighted and oppressed? There is no proof relocating City Hall will have a positive impact on other areas of Sandusky. With City Hall's current close proximity to downtown, the downtown economic impact is likely minimal   A trip down memory lane. The last attempted relocation of City Hall had City officials claiming there would be extra money left over from the building and property sale "to do other projects". The project cost quickly changes to "no additional cost to taxpayers beyond the cost associated with fixing the current building". Again, no bashing of philanthropy here, but if foundation or private philanthropy is willing to write a check for a new City Hall, how about making the same offer to upgrade the current building if Smith's relocation effort is not supported by the City Commission or the community?   T. A. Schwanger Pres; SOSP    

Mr. Schwanger. does the entire city benefit from the west end overpass ?

The Columbus and Hayes Avenue underpass projects ?

The Hancock Street road project ?

Yes.   Just because a project isn't in your front yard or on your daily path doesn't mean the city as a whole isn't improved.  Don't be a narrow minded, living in the past, relic.



Historical fact is that the City Building was moved from downtown in order to alleviate lack of parking and poor access for city services.  Drive past City Hall when Muni Court is in session and majority of the parking spaces are in use at the current location. where are you going to park these people without impeding access to merchants businesses.  The downtown is rebuilding with merchants which is what is needed, not more government offices.  Those going to pay fines, appear in court and apply for permits are not going to support the merchants and restaurants that are beginning to thrive downtown. Adding more retailers and specialty shops is the future for downtown.  


T.A. Schwanger: You're not wrong about everything, and you're not right about everything, either. The one thing that I WOULD point out is that you have no business suggesting anybody else has any kind of ulterior motives. The fact is that you were one of a very, VERY few people who jumped up and down and screamed against the Marina District project (and who actually had the unmitigated audacity to demand a vote and then, when it didn't go your way, suggest ANOTHER vote be conducted).

If Smith has a horse in this race, so do you.

T. A. Schwanger

Aug 16, 2012
11:52 AM

SamAdams says


You missed my point Sam.  Smith is obviously representing "very few people" wanting to, for at least the third time in 30 years, relocate City Hall making him the poster child of the term "pot calling the kettle black".  

City Hall relocation opposition was wrongly accused of being a 'small group of discontents' when facts are not supportive. We gathered nearly twice the amount of relocation opposition signatures needed to place the issue on the ballot in a few short days only to have Commission place wording on the ballot depicting the Marina District was next best to the invention of sliced bread and the napkin

Let's review, for those with short memories,  the Advisory Vote from 2007 with a swing vote of 132.

If very few people opposed the relocation of City Hall in 2007, don't you think the total vote would have been lopsided in favor of?

          Vote For Not More Than  1
           YES  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     3,704   51.85
           NO.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     3,440   48.15


T. A. Schwanger



Once again, Schwanger attempts to hold the City back!  People, quit listening to him!  Until he actually sticks his neck out and attemps to run for office, he holds NO credibility in my opinion.  It's easy to complain about someone trying to move Sandusky forward instead of doing the hard work to become one of the decision makers. 

Commissioner Smith has created 3 businesses within the City that provide people with jobs.  He has rehabed plenty of houses and raised the bar as far as expectations of landlords.  I'm sure his effort to move City Hall to a different location is based on his experience as a business and property owner.  I doubt there's any hidden personal agenda here....other than improving the community for future generations.  What have you done Tim....other than scare away developers and tainted others with your constant negativity?  We're tired of it!


Why Mr. Smith....why?


WHY ??????

WHY ??????

I agree ....the question is why !

When asked to take a look at a project that

1.  would convert a non taxable parcel to a highly valued developed parcel

2. would take underutilized property to a higher use

3. would stimulate further traffic and development in the downtown central business district

4. would be accomplished with the municipal court funds already accumulated, the sale proceeds from the 5 plus acre present site of the city building and parking lots,  and the support from a local philanthropist

5. would preserve the public access to the fishing pier and waterfront behind the present city building

6. would create many construction jobs and the spin off business to suppliers, restaurants, etc.

7. would provide our city and municipal court employees a much safer work environment


WHY would our city commissioners vote to not even consider such a project ?



Mr Schwanger needs to run for a seat on the City Commissioners, he knows so much about everything.....just ask him.  That way we will see how many will actually vote for him. Like an annoying fly, just ignore will eventually go away.  What is wrong with donwtown development??  We don't see any good coming from the attitude!! Complaining and grievences are getting you no where.....get the hint!!!  Take some of the negativity and turn it positive you will actually be an asset to the city instead of the village cry baby. 

T. A. Schwanger

RE: Sandusky Mom, Reader and Minnow 

The best answer I have is we can agree to disagree.

   Let's have coffee downtown sometime and we can personally observe the private dollars being spent in a downtown well on its way to flourishing without the Marina District Project, relocating City Hall or privately developing Battery Park to benefit a few. 

   If downtown Sandusky was currently at the top of Ohio's most vibrant downtown list you, and others, would still be clamoring about how it's vital to move City Hall downtown and build condos and hotels on the waterfront. Why? Just to prove you can not because it needs to be.

    If SOSP and others don't keep an eye on protecting the waterfront, who will? Commissioners Smith and Farrar?

     Funny how the commissioners supporting this not so new idea of relocating City Hall are claiming the current building is "too large for our needs" today yet 5 years ago they claimed "city hall is cramped".

   Wise use of tax dollars? Recall the financing of the Service Complex on Cement Ave? A $1 million project turned into a $7 million project.

   Sandusky Mom, referencing your babble on another ePaper article,  the next time a clean-up and painting of the Sandusky Bay Pavilion or shoreline work at Lion's Park is planned I will place a notice in the newspaper so you can join in.

Also, please visit Sandusky's new mini-park located at the foot of Shelby Street thanks to the efforts of a local Eagle Scout, Save Our Shoreline Parks, Panera Bread in Perkins and money, goods and services provided by local groups and individuals. No need to apologize. Just investigate first before you decide not to practice your own preaching.


T. A. Schwanger


Why would anyone take such pleasure in stopping the creation of  new jobs, an increase in the property tax base, an improvement to underutilized properties, and improvements in safety for city and court workers ?


Just because you think you can ?


there is no agreeing or disagreeing!!!  YOU A RABBLE ROUSER!!!  Agree with that folks!


I believe what Mr Smith said was he wanted to INVESTIGATE what it would COST to POSSIBLY move the city hall and to set up a committee to do so.  He did NOT suggest that they move city hall.  Everyone then jumped up and started saying they couldn't move city hall for this reason and that.

Mr Smith did NOT say he wanted city hall moved but to investigate what it would COST to move it VS what it would cost to fix the problems with the present building as Ms Farrar was also stating. 

Everyone assumes that Mr Smith is advocating MOVING City hall.  I have spoken to Mr. Smith twice and I can tell you that is NOT what the intention of what he is saying.  He would like to see what it would cost to move it verses fix the new one BEFORE the judge sets shovel to ground. 

I must say that makes sense.  The committee he suggests isn't going to cost the City a CENT.  Why would that upset a soul?   If it is free then why not?  

But before everyone starts yelling COSTS and PAST plans why not see what the cost would before

screaming your lungs out?  


Its no big deal,  simply get a free quote to demo City Hall,  then you have a starting point to put various costs together.  No need for expensive studies,  common sense will tell if it is cost effective.


  I vote no.....and I will vote out anyone involved with it we will get you one or more at a time...... Let them live in filth and crap that we do.......


Does anyone know what the proposal is in regards to moving city hall or does the taxpayer have to be surprised?


There was no proposal as yet.

 Smith wanted to study that...for big study by some huge company with a high price tage.  Local talent, and previous study info. 

Everyone is getting all excited like this was a done deal or something and that just isn't true.  The guy just wanted to check and see if it was more COST EFFECTIVE (less cost to the tax payers) to either stay put or go. 

That is all that was said....and do it WITHOUT costing a dime of taxpayer money or more costly studies.  Like complying and comparing the existing costs and existing stuff with new study by a COMMITTEE of free people.  That was ALL. 

But everyone is getting all upset like this is going to happen tomorrow and if they dont stay there everyone will get all upset.  That simply is NOT what was said. 

I have never felt so sorry for the commissioners as I do right now. 


For what it is worth......IF....and that is a big IF....they did decide to move the city buiiding to anothr facitilty...I would love to see them tear that building down.  Now there is one place I would LOVE to see become a green area....completely a green area.  It kind of fits into the surroundings.

With the Nautical themes there, the tennis courts, the boats and a clean, clear view of CP I would like to see that be a park.  NICE. ....and do NOT screw it up with more parking for the Marina.  


Sorry weird mama....but after reading/following most of your posts on just about all are either related to smitty or just started following city of Sandusky news . You seem to know nothing of our history yet think everything smitty says is 100% correct. So far he has done NOTHING for the city but deficit spend, offer a pay to park tax, and now want's to spend more money by moving city hall. With him as commissioner, Perkins is looking better and better, even DeWitt Ave ! For now on,  I will skip over all your posts as I do Darkhorse.