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Published: Saturday, 2/1/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

Despite vow, Treeces don’t plan to detail airport idea

Family now says city must make next move

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Dock David Treece Dock David Treece
THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Despite promises made in 2013 to disclose a detailed business plan for taking over operations of Toledo Express Airport, the Treece family of Sylvania Township now says it has no immediate plans to do so.

Dock David Treece, 27, said in an email response to The Blade that, in effect, the next move is up to the city of Toledo.

The plan “will remain private until we know what subsequent steps will be taken by the City of Toledo,” Mr. Treece wrote. “We have no way of knowing when City Council may say what they might do. To date, no specific proposal has been provided, as we’ve not yet heard whether the City might issue a public request for letters of interest or proposals.”

Lisa Ward, spokesman for Mayor D. Michael Collins, said the mayor has no plans to issue a request for proposals or seek letters of interest. She said there has been no communication between the Treeces and Mr. Collins since before he was sworn in on Jan. 2.

“We’re not planning on putting out any RFPs (request for proposals) at this point in time, and the mayor’s not planning to propose one until there’s a more detailed business plan. Then they’d have to look at it and evaluate it,” Ms. Ward said.

Paula Hicks-Hudson, president of Toledo City Council, said, “I’m not aware that we have anything,” and the future of the airport is not on the agenda of council’s economic development committee.

The airport, primarily in Swanton Township, has been leased to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority for $1 a year for four decades. It has faced three years of deficit operations because of the decline of cargo and passenger service at the airport.

Late last year, the port authority announced it had made cuts to avoid ending 2013 with a deficit, and earlier this month reported the first annual increase in passenger traffic since 2004.

Mr. Treece, with his father, Dock Treece, and brother, Benjamin Treece, 25, are principals in the firm Treece Investment Advisory Corp. Last year, they quietly proposed to the port authority and to then-Mayor Mike Bell a plan to lease the airport to them, with the option to sell airport-owned property.

In December, they created a Web site, www.toledoairports.com. The Web site contains information about their businesses, including a jet charter business, and a marketability study of ways the airport could be better commercialized. The Treeces said they have completed a business plan that, presumably, would show how they would finance the business and how it would produce profits and airport usage that is currently lacking.

Mr. Treece denied the project is permanently stalled. “We haven’t said that we wouldn’t release [the business plan], only that we are waiting to see how things develop before doing so,” Mr. Treece said. “Despite whatever you’re hearing, we still believe alternatives will be explored, and we don’t want to give away a business plan we’ve developed before knowing what steps will be taken.”

Contact Tom Troy: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.



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