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Published: Tuesday, 11/14/2006

Finkbeiner signs pledge to restore Southwyck funds

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Advocates of converting Southwyck Shopping Center into an urban village said yesterday afternoon they wanted a written guarantee that $1.3 million being transferred from that project to the Marina District project would be restored in 2007.

Yesterday evening, Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner signed a letter making that guarantee, a spokesman said.

The mayor has asked council to vote today on the proposed $1.3 million transfer from the Southwyck line item in the capital improvements budget to the Marina District to allow completion this year of a boat marina and connecting road to Front Street.

Councilman Frank Szollosi, who chaired a council hearing yesterday, said he was skeptical of the Southwyck money being restored because the administration had not yet responded to his requests for written details about both projects.

"City council in the past has allowed Mayor Finkbeiner to move money around that, in the final analysis, has been wrong, and ended up costing the taxpayers money," he said.

The administration announced a planning meeting for the proposed Village at Southwyck for 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 12 at Maumee Valley Country Day School, 1715 South Reynolds Rd.

Mr. Schwartz said the design exercise will be a chance for planners, engineers, and architects to weigh in on designs and themes for upgrading Reynolds Road from Central Avenue to the Maumee city line.

A session for public comment is planned, but no time had been set.

The mayor's top staff members have repeatedly assured that the $1.3 million can't be used immediately for Southwyck, but that it is needed for the Marina District, and it will be restored to South-

wyck as soon as needed.

Still, objections were heard.

"I urge you not to move that money. There's no assurance we're going to get that money back," said Robert Vasquez, who ran unsuccessfully as an unendorsed Democrat in the special election for an expired at-large city council seat last week.

Councilman Mike Craig, whose District 3 includes the 125-acre proposed riverfront development in East Toledo, said Toledo has already invested $22 million of its own and other funds on the Marina District.

"You can't make a $22 million project languish for lack of $1.3 million that the administration is willing to repay," Mr. Craig said.

Mike White, the mayor's commissioner of transportation and new project development, said the money is needed to complete a marina before the end of the year.

The Southwyck money is to pay for construction of a new Southwyck Boulevard when developer Larry Dillin sign a development deal with Dillard's, which owns about half of the mall.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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