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July 18, 2018 10:28 am

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Douglas Officials & Tower Marine Owner Can't Find Common Ground To Launch Possible Marina Purchase


      Attempts to pick up the discussion where it left off back in November of last year regarding the proposed selling of Tower Marine to the City of the Village of Douglas as a public marina have been unsuccessful, Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere announced at a recent meeting to the Douglas City Council.
        The announcement comes as Douglas has begun looking into owning what would be the first-ever public marina in the city, currently going after grants to either purchase Point Pleasant marina or construct a small, floating marina at the city owned Wade’s Bayou.
        The scenario is not new: previous discussions in recent years between city officials and Peterson over the proposed public acquisition of his marina have eventually hit a stalemate.
        The correspondences between LeFevere and Tower Marine owner RJ Peterson were part of the agenda packet. In those, LeFevere responds to a recent letter to the editor on the part of Peterson who expressed his wish to transfer the marina from private to public ownership.
        “If the City of Douglas is willing to renew marina purchase discussions with you it would be with the understanding that we are not going to burden those discussions with extraneous issues such as consolidation or channelization and you will need to accept that we will not negotiate any deal that is predicated on a stock sale, purchase of marina assets above appraised market value, extended lease-back provisions or appraisal methodologies that deviate from MDNR Trust Fund (Michigan Department of Natural Resources) standards,” reads, in part, LeFevere’s letter dated September 21 to Peterson.
        In that statement, LeFevere was referring to what he says are “substantial changes” Peterson’s attorney did to a proposed letter of understanding between the city and marina owner drafted last November.
        “The ball is in their (Douglas city official’s) court. I am waiting for them to come to the table. Let’s talk about this,” insists Peterson, responding to LeFevere in discussing the matter with The Local Observer  Wednesday morning.
        As for the issues LeFevere pointed out—purchase of marina assets above appraised market value, extended lease back provisions, etc.—Peterson said, “Those are items that are a long way off.
        “First, you have to say, ‘I want to buy it.’ We have to talk about whether it’s  a good idea or how we are going to move forward. Who is going to manage it?”
        Peterson has furthered cautioned the city against both options it is considering - Point Pleasant and Wade’s Bayou - contending city officials are wrong to think those are even viable opportunities as they will not generate enough money to even pay for themselves.
        The 15-boat-slip Point Pleasant comes with a pricetag of $1.3 million, plus required expenses for some modifications.
        The first phase of Wade’s Bayou 12-boat slips (24 with finger piers) is estimated at $1.2 million.  
        Tower Marine is a full service marina with more than 500 water slips.

Douglas Officials & Tower Marine Owner Can’t Find Common Ground To Launch Possible Marina Purchase

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