Future of Findlay's Riverplace to be challenged on Nov. 4

Reported by Dick Berry email
Posted by Kate Oatis email

FINDLAY (WTOL) - The future of a proposed multi-million dollar development in Findlay is being challenged on the Nov. 4 ballot.

In April, it was determined that Findlay voters should decide if the petition to approve the $90 million project called Riverplace should move forward. The project would go up not far from the Blanchard River, an area threatened by flooding.

If approved on Nov. 4, the petition would force the city to reverse an ordinance approved by the city council. It would permit a former tire dump to be leased and developed into Riverplace.

"We are not against development. We want growth. We want good planned development," said Ron Moor, petition supporter, who says the current plan for Riverplace is not an example of that.

Plans call for retail, residential and office development. There would also be a 1,200-seat ballpark for an independent baseball team.

Petition backers like businesswoman Pam August worry the project will cause the one thing Findlay doesn't need: more devastating flooding.

"If they build it, that water has got to go somewhere. I'm worried it's going to further flood , cause more floodwater in town and worsen the flooding in town," August said.

Some say the city council acted too hastily in passing the ordinance.

"If the city of Findlay votes for it and the development goes forth, we have no choice but to go with it. That was our point: Let the people vote for it," said Mayor Pete Sehnert, who does not think voters should decide on economic development.

"They want more input, but I guess the thing is people want more input into what's happening and there's a process for it that's called your councilman, your representative," Sehnert said.

If voters pass the petition, backers hope a new location can be found for Riverplace and the tire dump turned into a city park.

Petition drive or not, Sehnert says he's skeptical about the future of Riverplace.

Construction was supposed to begin last December but Sehnert says he hasn't had any contact with Kentucky developer Brad Burgess since July.

Sehnert says as far as he's concerned, Burgess is guilty of promises made and not kept.