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Register
Aug 13, 2013

My topic this week is the Sandusky Bay Pavilion.

Last month, the city had a public meeting to gather ideas and suggestions of what to do with the pavilion. The group that wanted to see development was partially present and said very few words on the subject.

I recently attended the Bay Front Corridor meeting because they had the pavilion on their agenda; but instead, they made a motion to gather up a subcommittee consisting of most of their members volunteering to serve on the subcommittee to talk about the pavilion. So, why didn’t the Bay Front Corridor Committee discuss it right then and there at their regular meeting rather then form a subcommittee?  What could be discussed in the subcommittee that couldn’t be discussed in the Bay Front Corridor meeting? The group missed two opportunities to discuss the pavilion ideas and suggestions in front of the public. It certainly doesn’t make any sense for the group to feel they had to create a subcommittee.

Commissioner Wes Poole made the following motion on July 22nd, which was voted on by the majority of commissioners: “To instruct the City Manager when inquiries are made about the Sandusky Bay Pavilion, to indicate it is not for sale and, further, the city is fully engaged with the National Trust for Public Lands to develop the property for public events and/or educational purposes.” I don’t understand the persistence of another group attempting to do something more than what the motion indicated.       

I hope that if there are Sunshine Laws to be protected regarding the subcommittee that the city will take a proactive stand to explain the Sunshine Laws to the group so minutes of the meeting will be available and notification of the meeting is announced. If the Sunshine Laws don’t apply to the subcommittee, I think it is unfortunate to form a subcommittee for the sole purpose of keeping the pavilion discussions away from the public instead of discussing the topic out in the open where it belongs.  

Until next week, I wonder if the Bay Front Corridor Committee didn’t over step its authority (Section 29 of the Charter) when creating a subcommittee without the consent of the commissioners, who have the power to set up committees and make appointments. The committees are public bodies acting in an advisory capacity with no authority to make decisions and their recommendations are to become part of the records of the City.

Comments

pavedparadise

Ms. Johnson,

Could this be an "11th hour" attempt by the Smith, Farrar and now Brown to sell or lease the property to a private developer? It's common knowledge the Sandusky Yacht Club has tried for years to get their hands on the property.

Only time will tell if this subcommittee will follow the task at had of discussing improvements to the property or try to circumvent the City Commission and public sentiment by recommending sale or lease of the Pavilion.

Word around town is the new subcommittee is loaded with members of the Sandusky Mainstreets Association, a key component supporting the failed Marina District Project at the Pavilion location. With all the current vacant and dilapidated properties downtown, one would think Mainstreets would concentrate on filling and revitalizing those properties rather than getting involved with the politics of leasing/selling public owned property.

The Bizness

Have you gone nuts?! Failed marina district project? Sure, the total original proposal didn't come to fruition, but the Marina and lofts turned out great for the city. The transient dockage and Dockside Cafe have been a boon for the city.

Private investing is currently revitalizing a number of downtown properties, and yes there are a couple on the west side of the downtown that do need to be torn down. (Keller Building)

We have plenty of water access for the general public, heck even all of the breakwaters for the yacht club allow the general to walk out on them. This whole anti selling a dilapidated, crappy park, just doesn't make sense to me, and I am a fairly liberal guy.

T. A. Schwanger

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@ The Buziness

It appears Pavedparadise was referring to the Marina District Project at Battery Park and Sandusky Bay Pavilion not the Paper District.

The transient marina and Dockside boon you refer to can be debated. There are private citizens and downtown restaurants believing the City's subsidizing of Dockside discriminates against other downtown eateries.

As far as terming the SB Pavilion a "dilapidated, crappy park", there are again those who will disagree. Putting the condition of the pool aside, significant strides have been made to improve the park thanks to efforts by the Wighman/Wieber Foundation, Maritime Museum and the City.

Ask yourself how and why the SB Pavilion was allowed to fall into disrepair and provide the answer here.

Referencing the breakwaters at the Yacht Club, be not mistaken, it was not the Yacht Club's idea to provide public access to the breakwaters--it was the State of Ohio Administrative Services special condition attached to the Submerged Lands Lease.

Here I will provide you a link to Windsor's Waterfront photos showing not only a walkway along their waterfront, but continual pockets of waterfront parks.
Copy and paste begin with photo number 25:::
windsorstar.com/PHOTOS+Aerial+shots+Windsor+parkway...

Similar waterfront development can be researched at "The Banks" in Cincinnati @ hamiltonco.org/hc/banksrfq/...design_master_plan_es.pdf
and "Louisville Waterfront Park" Louisville Kentucky.

T. A. Schwanger
Pres: SOSP.

The Bizness

You can keep telling me about "the Banks" and "Louisville Waterfront Park" all you want, as I have been to both.

You do realize that we already have pockets of waterfront parks that are connected via walkways right? You can start down on Putnam St. and take a lovely stroll via the pathway to Shelby St. Boat launch park and then take another splendid walk down Water St. where you can then rest at beautiful Dockside Cafe and have a burger and a drink. After that you can meander your way around The Chesapeake Lofts, and find your way to a bench on Jackson St. Pier. After a rest there you can walk down to Shoreline Park and cross over the fun bridges, and continue past the Yacht Club and find your way to Battery Park where you can walk out on one of the many piers there.

Amazing, and the Submerged Lands Lease will effect anyone who would buy the pavilion, so why fret about public access?

T. A. Schwanger

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@ The Bizness

You are exactly correct on your demographic analysis of Sandusky's waterfront. What we are asking for is the SB Pavilion to be treated in the same manner as the locations you list in your comments.

The fact past and present city officials have allowed the Sandusky Bay Pavilion to fall into disrepair relying on local foundations for improvements is shameful.

Nemesis

Bizness, you have to understand Tim's overall philosophy. He has stated in other comments his axiom that no desirable piece of public property may ever, under any circumstances become private, while expressing his enthusiastic approval for private land becoming public, including the forcible taking of such property by government. While he will loudly protest that he does not wish to abolish private property, that is the end result by slow attrition of these combined policies.

Ultimately, he and his organization have a seething resentment for the fact that one can, by being extraordinarily productive, amass the wealth necessary to garner exclusive use of something desirable like waterfront property. It's classic socialist class warfare agitprop applied to waterfront resources. Your recitation of the ample public access the city already does little or nothing to soothe their anger over the fact that anyone can have any of it all to his/herself.

Tim, if the city wants a restaurant in their marina, and doesn't want to run it themselves (which would be a disaster given their performance in other areas) then they need get a private contractor to run it. The terms of that agreement were freely negotiated, and if no one was willing to offer the city better terms. If the city needs a street paved at a time when supply and demand makes paving services expensive, is the resulting freely bid/negotiated price a subsidy to the paver? No, and neither are the terms for the contractor managing the Dockside Cafe. If anything, the terms are a glaring example of why the city should not try to engage in what is properly the conduct of the private sector.

The reason the Pavilion was allowed to fall into disrepair is simple. People stopped coming to the wave pool because of thuggish behavior by some users, and it ceased to be a viable enterprise. Notice that there are many comparable privately run recreational facilities in the area, all of which are thriving. The reason is that they can more effectively exclude those likely to engage in antisocial behavior through dress codes and other restrictions which public facilities cannot impose.

T. A. Schwanger

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Nemesis,

I don't recall our group expressing an interest in the taking of private property for public use. Please be specific and I will acknowledge if you are correct.

I had to brush up on my college literature class knowledge. You are correct. Protecting public access to the waterfront is indeed an art--classical art at that.

Nemesis

"I don't recall our group expressing an interest in the taking of private property for public use. Please be specific and I will acknowledge if you are correct."

You openly admitted that the Pavilion property was originally private, enthusiastically endorsed "forward thinking" leaders' past efforts to head off a private-to-private transfer and land grab it for the public. I have issued numerous invitations for you to substantively rebut my statements by citing a single private to public transfer of which you disapproved, which should be easy when the media is full of stories about particularly egregious cases because of widespread post-Kelo backlash. I've even made with allusions to the low-hanging fruit of the patently illegal Huron Greenway land grab as an example of a taking to which you could claim objecting. To all of this you have been pointedly unresponsive.

The fact remains that your cause is built around two axioms, the inevitable outcome of which is the gradual elimination of private property by slow attrition.

Nemesis

"It's common knowledge" Translation: belief for which one has no evidence.

The only thing that could have saved the wave pool was privatizing it.

Darkhorse

Don't be surprised come after elections that the new commission will have the votes to reverse the decision of the pavilion vote just taken. All the development group needs to do is stall the plans that were voted on until January when the new commissioners are seated.

Forward Looking

There are alot of great ideas for what Downtown Sandusky can be like, but I have yet to hear how any of this is to be paid for. SOSP has put together a proposal in the past for the SB Pavilion, but who is to pay for any public improvements to the area.

Since when it is bad to have Sandusky Main Street members on the committee? Does it make it bad to own a business and be successful in Sandusky? I see this blog and the Register as nothing more than rebel rousing the community into thinking that can't trust the City, Commissioners, Sandusky Main Street, and other business owners. Ideas should always be welcome, but they need to also include how things are to be funded.

T. A. Schwanger

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@ Forward Looking.

I'm glad you asked the funding question.

The City has pilfered the Battery Park TIF (payments in lieu of property taxes on the Battery Park Marina improvements) for years on projects such as an $18,000 downtown parking study (2013), $14,000 for the pergola at the private Paper District Marina restaurant(2013), $13,613 for a range hood and fire suppression system again at the private Paper District Marina restaurant (2012), $7,500 for Christmas displays in the State Theater windows (2010)and $29,000 for a Downtown Strategic Marketing Study (2009). I'll let you do the math.

In addition, the City receives several thousand dollars a year from the Submerged Lands Leases referred to in my previous comment. Instead of funneling this money back into public waterfront area improvements, the funds are placed in the general fund.

According to the Ohio DNR, much of the work at the Pavilion (restroom improvements) was eligible for Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars. The City opted to rely on a local foundation and bear minimum Battery Park TIF dollars for said improvements. A Land and Water Conservation Project in and of itself (1980), the City has never applied for LWCF dollars for improvements.

And lastly, SOSP has tentative commitments from individuals totaling $3,000 with hopes of growing the fund.

Here is the problem. There continues to be an underground movement to circumvent improvements and new life for the Pavilion in the name of downtown economic development even though City Commission has twice voted to move forward with preserving the Pavilion for public use.

T. A. Schwanger
Pres: SOSP

Nemesis

"The City has pilfered..."

...And despite this demonstrated level of irresponsibility, they are the only entity you find worthy of owning desirable waterfront property.

"In addition, the City receives several thousand dollars a year from the Submerged Lands Leases referred to in my previous comment. Instead of funneling this money back into public waterfront area improvements, the funds are placed in the general fund."

So revenues must be used only in the venues from which they are collected. OK, then, all city income tax revenue should be spent only to the benefit of those who pay income tax.

"According to the Ohio DNR, much of the work at the Pavilion (restroom improvements) was eligible for Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars. The City opted..."

...not to exacerbate the problem of pork barrel politics. Do you think Ohio DNR has a magic money tree? They don't - they can't allocate a dime without first confiscating it from productive citizens.

T. A. Schwanger

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Nemesis

Are you young enough to remember when waterfront living was a not so popular issue? When the lake was filthy and the Cuyahoga River caught fire? I do. What's happening here, and you see it all along the great lakes, is an effort by groups such as ours to protect what we the general public already has from private developers, not only wanting public land cheap, but using your money and mine to develop those properties.

So do you want to contribute to the SB Pavilion improvement fund?? or should we go down the path of selling the property for pennies on the dollar?

Nemesis

"Are you young enough to remember when waterfront living was a not so popular issue? When the lake was filthy and the Cuyahoga River caught fire? I do."

So do I, and lakefront property was still in high demand back then in many areas like Bay Village.

"an effort by groups such as ours to protect what we the general public already has from private developers, "

No, since by your own admission, the Pavilion land was originally private, it is to keep what the public has already TAKEN from private owners. Not stasis, but a one way street with constant traffic flow.

"but using your money and mine to develop those properties."

The existence of such subsidies and giveaways is a direct effect of government mission creep driven your own statist philosophies

"So do you want to contribute to the SB Pavilion improvement fund?? or should we go down the path of selling the property for pennies on the dollar?"

The dichotomy you posit does not exist. There are many options. Any sale should be at fair market price, and if it were up to me, I would have sold or leased the facility back when the wave pool was still operable with the restriction that it continue to be operated and open to the public at admission rates comparable to those under city ownership, to a private entity that could take meaningful steps to exclude troublemakers. At this point, I don't necessarily advocate selling it automatically, but only in the context of the current city government's inability to find their own backside with two hands and a flashlight. My objection is to your blanket obstruction of the mere possibility of any public land ever transferring to private hands.

Truth or Fiction

Having read through this thread, I find it interesting that Sharon, T.A. Schwanger and others veil their agenda through cries of foul play. So a subcommittee was formed. Who really gives a hoot. By definition, I doubt it is a subcommittee as Sharon pointed out - did the Bay Front group have the power to form a subcommittee? I don't know and I don't care. So call it a caucus. If that caucus comes up with a great idea, are you (Sharon and T.A.) going to be upset because it wasn't your idea? Maybe that great idea doesn't fit with your agenda - heaven forbid! Besides, it is a frivolous issue as the caucus doesn't own the property and has no power to affect an outcome on the property. Huron doesn't have these groups and it's thriving when matched with Sandusky. Political activism at times result in poor decisions. Sorry, I see more FICTION than TRUTH from Sharon.

Stop It

Everyone in a 50 mile radius from The Pavilion knows why it was closed. It's where it is. May as well have put it on Hancock St.