Watch Huron; do that

Register
Oct 23, 2013

"Getting things done" was the headline last week over a story about the city of Huron, the Huron Council and city manager Andy White re-inventing the lakefront community. 

The Lake Shore Electric Railway trail, a 1.25-mile bike and walking path that runs parallel to Route 6 near Woodland Intermediate School developed through a partnership with Huron Township is finished. 

The widening of Rye Beach Road at Cleveland Road for improved traffic flow also was completed. 

And the Pathway at the former ConaAgra site, and other improvements got done, too. 

White and Council have worked diligently and cooperatively for years now developing a master plan for the city, and implementing change, step by step. It's the kind of progress any community in our area would be proud to claim, and we hope other local governments are paying attention. 

The regions would be better served if more communities could seek to attain the same kind of internal cooperation and outreach across governments and agencies that was needed for the achievements already realized and the promise of more in the future. 

Local governments and the region as a whole would do well to watch how it gets done in Huron and emulate those practices.

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Comments

The Bizness

Vermilion, also has some great leadership, and I would even argue better than Huron. Vermilion's downtown is filled with stores, and restaurants.

We just need Sandusky's leadership to get their act together, ASAP!

Julie R.

I give Vermilion another 10-15 years and it's going to be in the same mess as Sandusky is in. The city law director in Vermilion ~ from the same law firm as the attorneys for MetroParks that ended up costing the Erie County taxpayers 3.2 million ~ is using (or did, anyway) his Lorain County law firm to handle the legal issues for the city. (wouldn't that be an ethical issue?) When the law firm refused to provide itemized billing statements as to what they were charging the Vermilion taxpayers, the former Vermilion mayor, Jean Anderson, filed a lawsuit against them. Roger Binette, of course, ruled in favor of Stumphauzer & O'Toole and when Anderson filed an appeal, the 6th District Court (of course) did, too. She then took it to the Ohio Supreme Court and won ---- just like the Huron River Greenway property owners did.

So my suggestion ---- enjoy Vermilion while you can.

The Bizness

I am not sure I follow what you are trying to say.

Can anybody else try to clarify this?

Julie R.

If you knew the close relationship between that big Lorain County law firm and Baxter & his cronies at the courthouse, you would know what I was trying to say.

Julie R.

The Bizness: The "great leadership" you're talking about in Vermilion is "new leadership" ..... in other words, the new leadership that's in Vermilion now sure doesn't get the credit for that nice city. I just hope and pray Vermilion has some watchdogs like Sandusky has because I have a gut feeling Vermilion will be needing them.

The Bizness

You are a confusing, cryptic person.

Julie R.

Why am I confusing? I'm just pointing out that the law director in Vermilion now is from the same big Lorain County law firm as the attorneys for MetroParks -- the ones that ended up costing the Erie County taxpayers 3.2 million. The ones that kept winning when the case was in corrupt Erie County, but disappeared real fast when the case went to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Nemesis

Julie's just trying to bring the conversation around to the sad tale of her lost inheritance, like she does in every other comment thread here.

Huron_1969

There have been many other improvements in Huron this year too. The run down building on Main/Cleveland rd has been removed and several roads were re-paved come to mind. Local businesses are following suite by remodeling the plaza on the east side and the old KFC is razed.

The community is definitely moving forward with much more to do. Kudos to Huron and Vermillion

The Answer Person

Yes this article is correct. Huron is successful and it shows EVERYTIME you drive through there. Why? A big reason is because as the article says: WATCH, not WATCHDOGS.

The Bizness

I don't know about this. I literally drive THROUGH Huron, there really is not much to do in the city.

I do agree with you about the watchdogs getting in the way of private investment.

T. A. Schwanger

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@ Answer Person, The Bizness

Without specific examples, we are not able to respond to specific contentions "watchdogs" are getting in the way of private development.

Positive things are happening in downtown Sandusky via PRIVATE INVESTMENT. From the Chesapeake Lofts to upscale restaurants and clothing stores to the Community Hope Foundation's reuse project at the Reiger Lofts.

If only we could find a way for these private investors/investments to rub off on City leaders resulting in investment of dollars into public facilities. Now before AnswerPerson gets his blood pressure up suggesting we get out our checkbooks, allow me to point out there is more money from local, state and federal sources than there are for roads. If Sandusky does not take advantage, someone else (Huron) will.

In 1991, City leaders made claim $1 million was needed to upgrade City Hall hence the need to sell it. In 2006, City leaders made claim $2 million was needed to upgrade City Hall, hence the need to sell it. The point---"demolition by neglect and decay"--stall investing in upgrades. Wait long enough and a new building will be necessary.

The same goes for the Sandusky Bay Pavilion. Allow the facility structures to continue decaying, claim poverty then issue an RFP for private development.

BTW-- Here is the link to Huron's Master Plan. Notice it provides significant green space and trails along the waterfront with private development away from the waterfront. Huron also committed to engage the public for input.

Copy and paste-----cityofhuron.org/files/2012-07-06-Huron%202020%20...

The Bizness

The City of Huron also has a huge chunk of vacant land that they can try to make into what they want. Sandusky doesn't have that option. We already have a start to what could be a great cycling and water front trail. And I thought that you said that Chesapeake lofts was not a good thing? You goal is confusing, and some times contradicts itself.

I have long heard rumors that your group stopped/slowed a number of projects including further development of the Paper District, the demolition of the Keller building, and the current fight over the pavilion. I am sure there are other projects you guys have stalled too.

T. A. Schwanger

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@ Bizness:

Our best advice--never rely on rumors. Rumors are generated by individuals and groups trying to hide their own incompetence and inadequacies.

A member of our group was on the committee in charge of developing the RFP for the Chesapeake Lofts Project (CLP). What may be confusing to you on this issue is the CLP was to be "191 owner occupied" but, when finished, turned into a majority rental complex meaning very minimal income tax is being generated. You may also recall when the Chesapeake was being transformed, a number of the contracted employees were being paid under the table "in paper sacks"---no income tax. Information backing these statements can be examined via a Chesapeake Lofts Google search and the City's webpage.

As far as the Paper District project is concerned, the City made the decision not to go with the alternate plan proposed by another RFP responder which would have included retail, commercial and residential. The City opted to go with "a mound of dirt" called an amphitheater which, in it's current state, will not succeed--again see Huron.

The current fight over the pavilion is private ownership/lease vs continued City control. Money is available for a Master Plan keeping control of the site in City hands. However, based on first hand knowledge, there are those on City Commission standing in the way of those efforts based on their desire to include a sale of the pavilion as a way to finance relocating City Hall BACK downtown. Commission has instructed the City Manager, by affirmative vote, to proceed with plans for a Master Plan. Based on information we have, this initiative is not being followed.

The Chesapeake Lofts developer and the City were their own worst enemies when it came to the Keller Building. As the Chesapeake remodel was proceeding, the developer decided to make changes to the outside façade causing a "historical building preservation" issue. The end result was, in exchange for façade changes, the Chesapeake develop and the City were mandated to "mothball" the Keller Building and pursue redevelopment prospects. Save Our Shoreline Parks was not involved with this issue. However, with demolition of the Keller Building eminent, we have suggested to the City Commission and City Manager reuse of the Keller Building sandstone to develop the "Northwest Chesapeake Public Plaza" (now a dog walk area for Chesapeake Lofts).

I hope this helps answer the rumors you have put faith in.

If you have further questions or would like a copy of the plans for the plazas at the Chesapeake, email me at savebatterypark@aol.com

T. A. Schwanger

The Bizness

Thank you for clearing some things up, and I didn't put faith in them as is the reason I asked the question.

I do want to know why you don't like the amphitheater? I think the Marina, Amphitheater, and Dockside are one of the best things going for Sandusky right now, and was packed all summer. There does need some private investment put into the Deepwater Marina however, to make the progress continue.

T. A. Schwanger

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@ Bizness Your quote:: ""I am sure there are other projects you guys have stalled too"".

Dockside was packed all summer as you stated. The concessionaire did a booming business. However, some in the community feel the City did a disservice to the community by grouping the transient marina operation in with the Dockside concessionaire's contract. The City pays seasonal employees to manage the marina. The Dockside contract should have been kept separate with the concessionaire paying a monthly fee plus a percentage of sales to the City--normal practice for leased municipal money generating spaces.

On the evenings when bands played at the amphitheater, the bands turned their equipment to face Dockside because no one was using the amphitheater mound---the reason--NO SHADE and lack of tiered seating(see Huron).

The biggest crowds using the mound area were viewers of the movies shown at dusk--cooler conditions.

As far as Deepwater Marina is concerned, the city received a $3 million dollar plus grant in 2009 to address the Deepwater Marina/Gradel property but had to return the grant due to project inactivity--a detailed explanation was not given why the project fell through. I can tell you the City insulted the owners of Deep Water Marina by offering a purchase price well below market value.

The Bizness

All valid opinions

I think the amphitheater could be used better with the tiered idea, but that is a fairly easy retroactive fix.

I think the amphitheater will be useful the way it is however, many people like throwing out a towel and sitting on the ground while listening to music. Many just don't know when bands will play. There should be a sign stating this at the beginning of the year, and then throughout the year. Friday night have the bands downtown like they always do then every Saturday night have one at the amphitheater.

Julie R.

When a former Huron police chief resigned ~ or was asked to resign, whatever ~ the city manager and the former police chief agreed to keep the reason for the resignation between the two of them. In other words, they didn't involve the jokes in the COUNTY in it. No expensive idiot long-drawn out civil service hearing, no Cleveland attorneys, no rent-a-judges, etc., etc. like Sandusky and the COUNTY did with the Nuesse case.

By the way, who is the law director in Huron? Whoever it is, maybe Sandusky's law director should take some pointers from him or her. (Somebody said it was Terry Griffith, a former assistant Erie County prosecutor. If that's true, scratch what I just said about taking pointers)

Nemesis

....no transparency, no accountability to taxpayers and voters....

SoldOnAcorns

Laura Alkire is the Law Director for the city of Huron....Google is a surprisingly useful tool ;)

Julie R.

I know who Huron's law director is ..... I just wanted to get in a little sarcasm about Terry Griffith. You must have missed it.

Nemesis

GRIND THAT AXE, Julie.