Monday, May 21, 2018
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City amends steam plant plans

The Finkbeiner administration agreed to reduce the amount it would pay Toledo Edison steam plant developer Randy Alexander by $50,000, and city council yesterday approved a new agreement with him.

Council acted on several pieces of legislation concerning steam plant development after the administration changed the ordinances to accommodate demands council made last week.

Chief among the demands was reducing the amount Mr. Alexander would be paid for completing the first phase of renovation at the plant from $600,000 to $550,000.

The legislation extends Mr. Alexander's deadline from Dec. 31 to March 31 to get phase one done, but terminates his agreement with the city at that time - another of council's requests.

Council wants to open up the second phase of the project, which includes marketing the building for tenants, to competitive bidding among other developers. Mr. Alexander plans to turn the plant into Water Street Station, a complex of restaurants, bars, and shops.

Other changes to the legislation include spending $150,000 for a design study for a parking facility at the site of the Federal Building on Summit Street to serve the steam plant and involvement of the Downtown Toledo Parking Authority in the processes for demolition of the Federal Building and design and operation of the parking facility.

The administration also reduced the cost to raze the Federal Building from $1.1 million to $720,000.

Council President Peter Ujvagi said the administration must make sure that when the second phase of development is done that the city is repaid the $550,000.

Deborah Younger, assistant chief operating officer in the mayor's office, said the city's recovery of the $550,000 was being written into the request for proposals for phase two.

Councilwoman Edna Brown expressed concern over the city subsidizing another developer and said it was time capital improvement money is spent on neighborhood projects, not just downtown development.

“We're somewhat tired of giving away the store,” she said. “We are tired of financing projects for private developers. ... It's time they spend their own money.”

She cautioned the administration that council is not about to build a parking facility for the development until it has signed leases from tenants. “We're not going to build a parking garage on speculation,” Mrs. Brown said.

In other action, council:

  • Overturned a veto by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner of an ordinance authorizing spending $27,000 for a baseball field in Ravine Park II.

    The mayor complained that the measure called for hiring a specific design firm, SSOE Studios. Council amended the ordinance so it did not specify any firm, and approved it.

  • Gave first reading to a plan to accept $3,200 in donations through an operational grants fund, to be used to pay for Martin Luther King, Jr., Day events planned by the mayor's office.

    Council has resisted a request from the mayor's office to set up a trust fund through which it can accept donations for King Day events in January. The move would allow the administration to pay bills from events this year.

  • Approved giving $10,000 to the Toledo Cultural Arts Center, Inc., which operates the Valentine Theatre, and $59,700 to the theater's endowment fund.

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