Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018
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Maumee’s green dilemma

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A Monnette's Market, like the one pictured here, could inject further life into Maumee's vibrant uptown area.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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Maumee officials weighing whether to sell a prominent parcel in the city’s busy uptown neighborhood faced a dilemma many communities would love to have: Bring in a new popular business that sells healthy food or preserve a popular bit of green space?

The city council voted to accept an offer from Monnette’s Market to buy two parcels of city-owned land in the 200 block of Conant Street.

RELATED: Maumee council OK's offer from Monnette’s Market

The market has offered to pay $306,000 for the land, valued at about $207,400, to build a new location for its green grocery chain. In exchange, Monnette’s wants a property tax abatement deal.

The city bought the land in two pieces in 1978 and 2004 with the intention of developing it for business use. Then, council voted in 2015 to turn the space into a park and ordered renderings drawn, but never followed through with the project.

Over the years, the space has become a de facto park in Maumee. The city hosts Food Truck Fridays and a farmers market there, as well as an annual July 4 fireworks viewing party.

Opponents of the deal urged council to steer Monnette’s to another location in town. Many also argued now would be a good time for the city to return to its plans to turn the space into a legitimate park.

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But the city should not see the issue as either/​or. It can have both Monnette’s and green space, albeit, not on the same spot.

The Monnette’s deal will add a food retailer that specializes in fresh, healthy produce within walking distance of many residential neighborhoods. Along with creating jobs and income tax revenue for the city, it would draw more people from other communities to the vibrant uptown area, where many other Maumee businesses look forward to benefiting from increased traffic.

Now is the time for Maumee to revisit its parks plan and look for opportunities to preserve green space elsewhere and improving the city’s other parks. The city can have both a new grocer and green space throughout town.

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