Lawmakers Arrange for $1.5M for Marina District; City Needs to Come Up with More

EAST TOLEDO -- Toledo has already spent a lot of money on the Marina District on the east side.  Now our lawmakers are getting the state to chip in $1.5 million more.  State Senator Randy Gardner says he's introduced an amendment that would direct the Ohio Department of Development to set aside the money.  He expects the governor to sign off on it by the end of the month.

But what does that money mean to the project?  Once Toledo reaches its $10 million collection goal, then it's up to developer Larry Dillin to get private businesses into the project to the tune of at least $50 million, and get the project moving forward.

Dillin says he's confident after testing those financial waters.  "We feel good about where we're headed," said Dillin.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner says the city has some options when it comes to making up the extra $2-3 million needed for the project.  He says the state and/or the Port Authority could fulfill Toledo's end of the bargain with Dillin.  "He doesn't need to have any question or concern," said Mayor Finkbeiner.  "We will have the $10 million," he added.

Dillin told us even if the city doesn't quite make it by the deadline, both sides should still be ready to go.  "If it takes a little longer than [July 1st], that's okay," said Dillin.  "If the city was a little short, we'd figure out a way to move the project forward."

Dillin will need about $50 million committed from private businesses after getting the city's share all to help ensure and focus on the infrastructure.  Things like roads, lights, greenery and more will be done first.  He said he has roughly five different entities interested.

"If you totaled up the potential of all of those," said Dillin, "it's far in excess of $100 million.  So, we don't have to land all of it.  We have to land enough of it to hit that trigger point."

Senator Gardner told us his amendment will ignite more aggressive development.  East Toledo reps said this is a building block for the east side.  "There is some sense that the river divides us," said State Representative Peter Ujvagi.  "But what's now going to happen is the river is going to unite us," he added.

Dillin said as soon as the initial money difference is met, that will be key.  "Once we get over that gap, this $320 million project will truly materialize," Dillin told us confidently.

Posted by AEB