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Published: Tuesday, 5/21/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Boaters wait for Toledo to open docks

Marina contract approved just Friday

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Michael Dominique wants to be a paying customer, but no one is there to take his money.

Boating season is upon us, Mr. Dominique said, and he wants to dock his 22-foot Bayliner at Toledo Skyway Marina.

“Rossford’s marina has probably 20 boats already, and there is no way to find out about Toledo’s marina,” he said. “Memorial Day is just next week, and people have to get boats in the water to work and work out any kinks. Plus this is prime time for fishing and it’s almost 90 degrees, so people should be out on the water.”

Mr. Dominique said he and other boaters have inquired to the city about paying or reserving a spot with no luck. The number listed for the marina is out of service, and the city hasn’t publicized who will operate the facility.

A split Toledo City Council voted 7-4 in March to authorize Mayor Mike Bell to hire a dockmaster to run the marina. City spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei said a contract with Brenner 75 Marine was approved just Friday.

Don Smith, owner of Brenner 75, on Monday called the agreement tentative and said there are still issues to work out but said he thinks it will work out and hopes to open this week.

“We are attempting to open pretty much immediately,” Mr. Smith said. “There has been a question that’s come up about access to some of the [mechanical] controls for the fuel that is needed. We need clarity into how that is best managed.”

Under the five-year contract, Brenner will operate the marina and be responsible for all accounting.

The company will be paid an annual management fee and split profits evenly with the city after a portion of profits are used to pay expenses, including utilities.

The management fee is $24,000 this year, $28,000 in 2014, $29,400 in 2015, and then it increases by 4 percent a year for the following two years.

Toledo Councilmen Paula Hicks-Hudson, Shaun Enright, Tyrone Riley, and Steven Steel voted against authorizing the legislation. Ms. Hicks-Hudson, council’s president, said she voted no because the legislation was not specific about who would run the facility and the terms were unknown.

Ms. Hicks-Hudson said she was unaware of contract terms Monday.

“The whole point of the way they had the contract done was so when boating season started, they would be ready,” she said “Logically speaking, they should be ready already.”

Mr. Dominique said he is happy to pay to dock his boat at the marina if it includes security.

“I used it last year for free and my boat got broken into, so I am more than happy to have security down there,” he said. “They took my batteries and stripped the whole boat, costing $600 to $700.”

People docked vessels on a first-come, first-served basis at the city’s $6.3 million marina for free for the last three seasons. That included water and electricity hookups.

In 2010, Brad Peebles, who was the city’s commissioner of economic development at that time, said Brenner believed the facility would not turn a profit.

“Brenner 75 was interested in operating the complex, and there was direction from city council that they lease it for $1,” Mr. Peebles said in June, 2010. “They would keep any proceeds from management of the complex, but they did not believe the complex would generate enough money.”

An earlier proposal from the Bell administration that year sought approval for a three-year contract with Brenner 75 under which the city would have paid the company $124,000 annually to run the facility.

Jim Ragan, a former city employee who had taught sailing at Walbridge Park and ran a safe-boating classes for the state of Ohio, was hired by former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner to run the facility in the past.

The marina, formerly the Glass City Municipal Marina, opened in June, 2008. It shares its quarters with a marine passenger terminal that is to become the site of the Great Lakes Maritime Museum.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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