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Published: Tuesday, 12/3/2002

Lawmakers weigh plan offering $4M for Marina District

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS - The state will kick in $4 million toward East Toledo's marina/ice arena development project under a proposed two-year capital budget to be unveiled today.

The money is expected to be the first installment of a two-payment plan that, with the next General Assembly's cooperation, would be completed with the capital budget for 2005-06.

The amount of borrowed money available for community projects in the estimated $1.5 billion spending plan has decreased because of Ohio's struggling economy and budgetary maneuvers that earmarked funds for other purposes.

Most of the biennial capital budget is reserved for construction and renovation projects in government buildings, parks, universities, and schools.

“This is a porkless capital budget,” said Rep. Lynn Olman (R., Maumee).

Two hearings on the capital budget are scheduled for today in anticipation of a full House vote tomorrow. The General Assembly hopes to get the package to the governor's desk by the time it adjourns the current two-year session, possibly this week.

The proposed Marina District - with a new arena, boat marina, hotels, shops, condominiums, and theaters - is proposed for 125 acres of former industrial riverfront property.

“Clearly, this is a tighter, more challenging capital budget than the last couple,” said Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green). “From what I've been told, northwest Ohio did very well. We were the best-organized region of the state in terms of establishing priorities and getting agreement from community and legislative leaders.”

According to a legislative staff source who wished to remain anonymous, the capital budget will also provide:

  • $2 million toward expansion of the Toledo Museum of Art.

  • $1 million toward construction of a Wood County Center for Agriculture.

  • $1 million for construction of a Bowling Green Armory/Community Center.

  • $500,000 in additional improvements to Camp Perry, a military training complex along Lake Erie west of Port Clinton.

    Democratic and Republican lawmakers from Lucas and Wood counties named the marina project their top priority for state aid.

    “[Republicans] believe the urban center is critical and vital to economic development in attracting jobs and businesses to northwest Ohio,” said Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo). “They're putting actions behind their words.”



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