Mike Craig: Marina deal requires difficult questionsWritten by Mike Craig | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The 69 acres of the Marina District represent not just a single real estate transaction but an important development opportunity for the City of Toledo and all of Northwest Ohio. Whatever past actions have been taken regarding this development, it is the responsibility of all elected officials to make the best decision for moving the city forward. This requires asking difficult questions, meeting with the interested parties, and having access to information that is crucial to making an informed decision. Having a potential deal for the property is an exciting prospect and one I support not just as the Council member whose district encompasses the Marina District, but as a lifelong resident of the City of Toledo.
On the real estate side of this issue a lot of comparisons have been made about the Marina District as a typical sale of land. In real estate transactions the material terms of the sale are set forth in the beginning of the contract (i.e. who are the parties, the subject matter, a description of the land and the price). The same pattern applies with the Marina District. Currently the City maintains a portion of the property as park space which includes the land directly adjacent to the water’s edge. Part of the previous contract for the Marina District included the retention of this park space. Under that version the City would remain responsible for the maintenance and development of the land. The proposed contract with Dashing Pacific deeds the park space to the company with a non-exclusive easement to the City. This means we have the right to access and use that space as a park. It also means that under this proposal the development of that space will be the responsibility of Dashing Pacific to maintain and develop while effectively dedicating this part of the property for perpetual public use.
The long-term development opportunities represent the other side of this issue. The mayor is to be commended for his aggressive moves in promoting and marketing the city. We have a lot to offer potential developers and it is to everyone’s benefit to see this project succeed. The immediate construction jobs and long-term employment opportunities from the businesses built are all needed in our city. Without the completion of this deal we lose out on both opportunities. Past promises and failed deals aside, this is the time to move forward and do something that is good for the city, and developing the Marina District is good for the city.
There are many important questions about the current proposal that Council needs to ask of any potential developer. The Marina District property has been the focus of media attention and public discussion since the first development idea surfaced. No deal is perfect and with a transaction as large as this there will inevitably be differing opinions, but the issue of the park space has already been resolved under this current proposal and Council should turn its attention to what is needed to complete this transaction and move the City of Toledo forward.
Mike Craig is Toledo City Councilman for District 3. Email him at email@example.com.