City Hall project shouldn't be big deal

Register
Jun 4, 2013

 

My topic this week is the City Hall project.

It is difficult to understand what is going on with the City Hall remodeling or relocation. I thought at one point the commissioners voted not to pursue the City Hall move but to remodel instead. There seems to be other elected officials who still hold out hope for relocating City Hall for the purpose of development. The problem is that they are not the majority and moving City Hall was not the directive which has been given to the city manager. Government is set up so the commissioners can bring things to the table as a unit and give direction to the city manager through a majority vote. Commissioners acting on their own have no power to reverse course of the majority who have ruled.

In some minds, as long as the city hasn’t started remodeling City Hall, there will always be a chance to relocate it. Once the remodeling starts, all hope of moving City Hall will be gone forever. The longer the group can delay, the better their chances are for the move. Who knows, maybe another group of newly elected officers will overturn the directive the first group of commissioners made, and we will start all over again with the same agonizing discussions about moving City Hall. There seems to be no conclusion and the decision continues to be in perpetual motion forever.

There is documented activity going on behind the scenes about exploring the idea of moving City Hall. As taxpayers, we don’t appreciate hearing what is being proposed from another entity instead of the commissioners discussing the proposal out in the public. Communicating by e-mail has gotten way too convenient for a lot of elected officials that they tend to forget to communicate in front of the public.

Economic development is always good for the community. It is a whole different situation when the taxpayers have to pay for the development and possibly give up precious land and parks to accomplish the goal. Where do the elected officials think the city is going to get the money to move when we are $67 million in debt? Our debt obligation is way too much for a little town such as ours. Our debt is impeding us from doing other projects that have been on the waiting list for years. Increasing the income tax or taking out more bonding for the sake of development is financially irresponsible.

Remodeling City Hall shouldn’t be a big deal and it shouldn’t throw us into debt if done the right way. Maybe we can’t do all of it at one time, but we can certainly start to remodel sections or do projects one at a time as the money becomes available instead of going into debt for it. It just takes the city to make up their minds that they are going to do it and start setting aside the money to do it.

Until next time, if the city can afford to build a marina and allow it to lose a considerable amount of money every year, we should have money to remodel City Hall.

Comments

The Bizness

"Until next time, if the city can afford to build a marina and allow it to lose a considerable amount of money every year, we should have money to remodel City Hall."

Are you kidding Sharon? The marina was open for less than a few months last summer. You have no idea whether or not to assume that it will lose money this year or next.

We have plenty of public access to the lake front as it is, and we should be doing what Cleveland and Pittsburgh is doing and making it easy for a private entity to rebuild along the shore while maintaining access to that shoreline. It worked great around the Chesepeake Lofts with the pathway that goes around it.

I don't care if Sandusky wants to move or wants to build new. Just as long as whatever they decide to do goes after a LEED certification. That way it would save the taxpayer in energy costs, and be a model for citizens on what they can do to lessen their impact on the land.

T. A. Schwanger

###

1980, 1991, 1998, 2006 and today there are those in this community, including some current City Commissioners, who believe relocating City Hall 4 blocks and selling our waterfront will lead to the revitalization of downtown.

There is absolutely no proof for support. In fact, with the exception of downtown government workers occasionally eating lunch downtown, adding more government offices would take up valuable downtown parking.

What has lead to the continuing resurgence of downtown, as reported by the Register, is the development of residential units and private entrepreneur establishments. By Google research standards, as people move back into downtowns, the downtown flourishes.

The ages old decision, handed down by decades of debate, to move or not move City Hall accomplishes one thing in favor of relocation supporters. Demolition by neglect. Waite long enough and the need to relocate is eminent. One need only look at the condition of the parking lot at City Hall. Without routine maintenance of seal coating and striping and complete repave will be needed costing, by city estimates, $60,000.

See what Wooster's Main Streets Associations says about downtown living and resurgence:::

the-daily-record.com/local%20news/2012/08/15/hull-briefs

Nemesis

@Schwanger: "What has lead to the continuing resurgence of downtown, as reported by the Register, is the development of residential units and private entrepreneur establishments."

Private entrepeneurs!?! Say it isn't so, Tim!!! That's another word for, HORRORS, private land grabbers. Private entrepeneurs implies private assets and private property! That's just EVIL, at least, according to you, if those assets or properties are in any way desirable.

T. A. Schwanger

###

@ Nemesis

I'm not going to attempt to change your mind on the moral or ethical disciplines on selling, leasing or giving away public waterfront property dedicated as such nearly 100 years ago. I will however attempt to educate you.

This is one of my favorite debates, so I'm going out on a limb when I say you are either new to the area or have not been paying attention the last 10 years. No one, to the best of my recollection, opposed the Chesapeake Lofts project, the demolition and future development of the Apex Building, the redevelopment of the Reiger Hotel, and hopefully an eleventh hour redevelopment of the Keller Building.

Take your best guess why you think that is?

Let me also say, thank you to the folks at Coastal Management and the rest of ODNR. If not for them there would not be a public walkway around the Chesapeake Lofts.

Hope this helps.

For your viewing enjoyment, copy and paste the following links, and you'll see the con-job to take public land for private use is contagious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?fea...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d...

Nemesis

So it's morally and ethically wrong to EVER sell, lease, or give away desirable property currently under government ownership? So much for that whole Homestead act that settled the West.

I know people who would gladly buy one of the Chesapeake lofts on the water side if that walkway wasn't there. They just don't like the idea of drunks taking late night walks past their patio. Thus, the walkway to some extent diminished demand. If demand had been greater, the developer could have charged more, and then maybe afforded to do a quality build so those lofts wouldn't be the slipshod nightmare they are for many owners.

Your video links are not impressive, unless one has a fetish for stasis. Unlike you, I despise golf, but I don't begrudge those who enjoy it, including you, the ability to use their resources to pursue it. There are plenty of publicly owned golf courses in this country that were installed by government to the detriment of prior uses I might prefer. More to the point, for every such example you post, I can find ten outrageous abuses of emminent domain converting private land to public, stripping hardworking taxpayers of the rewards for their hard work. Heck, we need look no further than the Huron Greenway debacle to see the power drunk escapades of PUBLIC land grabbers.

As I've said, I supported your opposition to the marina district project. What I find unconscionable is your apparent belief that merely because waterfront property is desirable, some manifest right of the public arises ex nihilo. If public access to the waterfront is a RIGHT as you claim, then why aren't you protesting on behalf of all the residents of Nevada or Oklahoma? No, clearly, the waterfront and its benefits are commodities that many (not all) people find desirable, While it may be nice, it may be conducive to economic development, or to attracting desirable residents - while there may be many good reasons to have SOME LEVEL of public access to the waterfront, it is not, by any means a moral, ethical, or legal imperative or a right, enumerated or otherwise. Based on the number of states passing resolutions against elements of the Affordable Care Act, and mounting dissatisfaction with the growth of the SNAP program, a sizable portion of the country does not believe healthcare or food, both of which are life sustaining necessities, are rights, and here you are ranting how a recreational and esthetic asset is a right. Based on how life was in the early Soviet Union, not even Lenin or Stalin was THAT collectivist.

Again, I'm not opposed to the idea that some level of public access is a net positive for the community, but the very motto of your organization outlines an extreme position. A reasonable position would be that there is room for waterfront land to change hands both from private to public and vice versa in a context that preserves an appropriate level of public access. There are a lot of considerations which your mantra sweeps aside, such as the privacy and security needs of Chesapeake residents. It's important to note that even if the entire stretch of waterfront from Perry St. to Washington St. were to be privatized, the net public waterfront ownership and access would still have more than doubled in the past ten years given all the Metroparks acquisitions along the back bay. You'll notice that the Metroparks made a few deals for a great deal of private land behind Barnes Nursery recently. I wasn't on here ranting about jack booted thugs robbing the populace, yet here you are writing letters to the editor calling people greedy land grabbers for merely MAKING OFFERS. I have no objection to the city or metroparks buying property from WILLING owners who have no use for it, while you apparently get outraged at some peoples' suggestion that, if the city can't manage to make effective use of the Bay Pavilion, they should sell it to someone who can. So who's the extremist? The net outcome of your viewpoint is a ratcheting effect where property may pass from private to public, but not the other way, which, in the context of fluid economics, eventually leaves all property in government hands and abolishes private property, or, at least, desirable private property.

pavedparadise

Cuckoo Cuckoo---- Spoken like a true Sheriff of Knotthead, take from the poor--give to the rich elitist snob.

Nemesis

You need to work on that reading comprehension. I said no such thing. Then again, if this is what you see as a rational rebuttal, then it's doubtful you can even grasp the concepts involved.

T. A. Schwanger

###

@Nemesis:

Well I gave it the old college try but it failed.

The point of the videos is across the country it's becoming common for government to break to the pressures of private enterprise, in the name of the dollar, when it come to selling long established property dedicated for the enjoyment of all not a select few.

The video from Michigan explains that community's fight to protect a park vs a private golf course.

I'd like to buy into your opinion on the Chesapeake Walkway but it's too far fetched.

DEMOLITION BY NEGLECT is the problematic issue with the Sandusky Bay Pavilion, and some of the other properties controlled by the City--- it/they can be maintained--the City chooses not to while they spend money on dust collecting study after study and other waste.

I'd hope you'd join some sort of "save the cause" effort if the City decided to sell Washington Park or the Greenhouse for other private uses.

Obviously your idea of the meaning of public access is substantially different from those seeking to preserve what we have now.

And by the way, the answer to the question you ignored is every project mentioned (Apex, etc.) is on private property hence a concern over loss of public access was not warranted. But if the final developer says, "gee I think I'll add public access to my plans" well...........

Nemesis

@SCHWANGER: Well I gave it the old college try but it failed.

No, I got your point - you didn't grasp mine. I'll respond sentence by sentence to help you out.

@SCHWANGER: The point of the videos is across the country it's becoming common for government to break to the pressures of private enterprise in the name of the dollar when it come to selling long established property dedicated for the enjoyment of all not a select few.

I got that point, but it's just as common, if not more so, for government to engage in the ravenous seizure of private land by emminent domain - i.e. it goes both ways, and it's highly probable that the current balance has more acres going private to public than the other way. It's enough of a problem that there's not a state in the union that isn't feeling the backlash against the Kelo ruling. Plus, it's not a level playing field.
If a private developer wants to buy a piece of public land, he must PERSUADE officials to sell it, but if the government wants to buy a piece of private land, they can use emminent domain to hold a gun to the owner's head. To quote Mel Brooks, it's good to be the king.

I also don't share your collectivist resentment of society allowing a few high achievers to choose exclusive use of some portion of a desirable commodity as their reward for inventing, discovering, innovating, leading, creating jobs, etc.

@SCHWANGER: The video from Michigan explains that community's fight to protect a park vs a private golf course.
And if I cared to study that particular case long enough, I might find a reason, based on the particulars of the case, to object, whereas you would kneejerk condemn it automatically based on its category of public to private sale without any further information.

@SCHWANGER: I'd like to buy into your opinion on the Chesapeake Walkway but it's too far fetched.

Far fetched how? Far fetched that people who pay hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home with a nice patio overlooking the bay might object to a public thoroughfare inches from their patio right next to where the Booze Cruise discharges hundreds of staggering drunks every weekend night? Question Tim, if you own a home, how would you feel about a public walkway through your backyard, less than 20 feet from your back door, abutting a weigh station for drunken barflies? Maybe you wouldn't mind, but I can tell you, most of the people I know, and more important, most of the successful achievers I know, would not like it.

@SCHWANGER: DEMOLITION BY NEGLECT is the problematic issue with the Sandusky Bay Pavilion, and some of the other properties controlled by the City--- it/they can be maintained--the City chooses not to while they spend money on dust collecting study after study and other waste.

THERE I AGREE 150%, but since this has been the city government's modus operandi for decades, and the voters have seen fit to maintain the status quo through many election cycles, depite even your laudable efforts to effect change, how is that any different from the numerous private properties that have been condemned and seized from intransigently neglegent owners? The county takes and demolishes homes from private owners who have demonstrated ongoing refusal to maintain them, but you seek to demonize anyone who even makes an offer for land the city is actively neglecting - what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Maybe if a piece of neglected municipal property was sold, and something really tacky built, it might serve as a wake up call. You seem to care more about public vs. private ownership of the property than you do about the actual condition of it.

It's also more complex than a simple choice not to maintain it. Surf's Up was a high maintenance facility, dependent upon user fees to pay for that maintenance. People weren't willing to pay those fees to go to a facility that was increasingly dominated by those who reject the social contract. Had they sold it at that point to a private operator, that operator would have had greater latitude in excluding troublemakers so it might have thrived. Notice that Cedar Point uses a strict dress code and restrictions on expressive conduct as a tool to exclude troublemakers where a public facility could not because of First Amendment constraints. You'd still have a beautiful facility, with a working wave pool, open to the civilized public, who would then be willing to come because civilized behavior could be effectively enforced. Note that it didn't fail because of a general dislike for wave pools - there are other wave pools in the area that are heavily utilized.

@SCHWANGER: I'd hope you'd join some sort of "save the cause" effort if the City decided to sell Washington Park or the Greenhouse for other private uses.

I might, depending on the circumstances. Currently, Washington Park is being maintained, so yes, I'd go to the mat on that. However, if some combination of the city and/or its residents, through action or inaction, made it into a vile nuisance, then maybe it would be time for a change. You, on the other hand would probably fight to preserve a garbage strewn heroin shooting gallery and rape field out of a knee jerk hatred for private ownership, if the only viable options for cleaning it up involved selling it to private parties.

As for the Greenhouse, you could sell me on its benefit to the community as it is, but you'd have to make a better effort than you're doing now. Greenhouses are not a practical use of financial resources in this region - it costs less to purchase the plants than it does to raise them in a greenhouse.

@SCHWANGER: Obviously your idea of the meaning of public access is substantially different from those seeking to preserve what we have now.

Not at all. I'm simply not willing to buy into your religious jihadist dogma that ANY public to private transfer is AUTOMATICALLY the work of the Great Satan, which, combined with your apparent lack of objection to any private to public transfer, coercive or otherwise, adds up to an end game of the elimination of private property through gradual attrition.

@SCHWANGER: And by the way, the answer to the question you ignored is every project mentioned (Apex, etc.) is on private property hence a complaint over loss of public access was not warranted. But if the final developer says, "gee I think I'll add public access to my plans" well...........

I'm fully aware of that. I'm also fully aware that you wouldn't mind if the property was taken over by the government, as evidenced by the fact that you never made a peep about the Huron Greenway travesty.

I also wonder how naive you think people are to believe that the developer decided on a whim to add that walkway, detracting from his customers' privacy and security, with nary a consideration of how it would help to get on the good side of a vocal activist group known for stalling projects that run afoul of their single-issue fixation. Of course, if the developer had done his homework, he'd realize it was a futile gesture, as other waterfront property owners have made similar gestures only to have your organization later attack them.

See Tim, that's the difference between us. You have this one-sided, absolutist approach that condemns private property in the long run, and grants government carte blanche to take and neglect property. I'm willing to look at each instance on a case by case basis, and allow for a diversity of creative approaches with some give and take, with an eye to the outcome, rather than servicing a mantra.

The funny thing is, I consider myself a pretty judgmental, dogmatic person, almost to a fault, but, in that realm, you have me beat by a country mile.

T. A. Schwanger

222

Larry

Sharon, That makes too much sense, you couldn't expect our city manager to even consider such a solution. I for one cant wait for the next election. Several of these commisioners need to be replaced along with Ms. Ard

Maggdi

Neither of you know anything about the finances of remodeling/ rebuilding vs new building or moving into an adequate building. So until proven otherwise I will not waste anymore time on either opinion.

pavedparadise

What's wrong with the adequate building they are in now?

Now here is a novel idea.

Looking at the City Hall design, the Police and City Offices are, from what I can see, in separate wings of the building joined by a common hallway. If security is the true issue, why not seal off the hallway between the north and south wing. The north wing will still have two exits. A second exit may be needed for the police department separating criminals and fine payers from office workers and the general public. Problem solved.

From the Police Department tour last year, the department garages are not being utilized leaving room for police, court or other needed expansion.

Ooops too easy and money saving

Larry

Maggdi, With over 40 years in commercial construction and also capable of balancing a check book I can assure you that a prioritized program to remodel/ update city hall is a sensible solution.

J Cooper

Sharon if you always have the answer why don't you run for city commissioner?

Woody Hayes

Because it's easier to sit back and constantly complain than it is to run for office and to do any work. Arf Arf.

pavedparadise

I agree Woodrow.

Only government decision makers should take on the job of community activist. The heck with everyone else who cares about the community. That's what we elected City Commissioners for. Funny.

Here is your chance to pat yourself on the back. What have you done for your community lately?

Browndog271

I wonder does Sharon have a Degree from a College?

MOJO68

Being from a different place gives one a different point of view sometimes, but after reading the position of this writer of this article and the comments given, I take it there is a BIG difference of opinion on your city hall.(to say nothing of your waterfront). If this city is so far in debt it can't keep up its parks (like the one's downtown which need some work), how can you expect to do any work or even fix or build a new city hall? It doesn't appear you have the money for either! Just a thought but right now, with your apparent debt load, your city apparently can't afford to even consider fixing or moving at this point. It looks like you guys are at a stand still until you get your money straightened out. Just a thought. I'd start by taking care of what you need to do in those pretty parks of yours, some of your streets and your downtown before I took on anything big. Just a thought.

As for your waterfront....you have enough access to last you a lifetime. Be happy with it. I see a lot of empty space not lived in around here. You sure don't need anymore condo's. I've looked at enough. This place is full of them. I don't see much work available though. That's a shame.