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Dayton Owes More than $60,000 in Utility Bills at Marina Site

The City of Dayton has terminated its lease agreement with Waterfront Development Group (WDG), the developer chosen to revitalize the Manhattan Harbor Marina last summer, Mayor Ken Rankle announced at April's city council meeting.
 
“The city is the one that initiated the split,” said Michael Giffen, Dayton’s newly named city administrator. “Neither side could come to terms on a long­term lease agreement, and it became apparent there were outstanding bills not being paid that the city was very concerned about."
 
According to Giffen, who has been assessing the situation since the turn of the year, the city owes roughly $62,000 in water, sanitation, storm water, electric, and insurance bills.
 
Upon investigation, the city discovered upwards of nine utility meters that have not been kept current.
 
“It’s a mess down there,” Rankle said.
 
“Luckily, some of the entities have agreed to work with the city as far as applying the money owed to projects in Dayton that can benefit both the company and the city,” Giffen said, specifically acknowledging Lisa Hollander, general counsel for Sanitation District 1 (SD1), who has worked with Giffen to find such projects.
 
Giffen did not comment specifically on potential projects or on any pending litigation subsequent to the termination of the agreement with WDG.
 
When a Dayton resident asked who was responsible for managing the marina’s bills and upkeep since the agreement with WDG, the Mayor mentioned the marina employs a
manager, “but the responsibility ultimately falls on me,” he said.
 
The marina, opened twenty-nine years ago, has been in a state of uncertainty since it fell into bankruptcy in 2012. DCI owned the property when it went under, and River Park
Properties took over until last August, when that lease agreement was mutually terminated. It was that termination that led to the city’s most recent agreement with WDG.
 
Still, Giffen said, “This will not have any major or ongoing implications to the Manhattan Harbor Project.” 
 
Councilman Virgil Boruske proposed to council that the city lease the space until it can recoup the amount owed and then sell the marina.
 
“We have a multimillion dollar project coming up,” councilman Bill Burns said. "The marina needs to stay open, but this city can’t afford to delay.”
 
At the time of the city’s agreement with WDG, the city had also considered North Shore and Red Bank Creek­Stark for the development. “The city is currently exploring several
options with several different interested parties,” Giffen said. “We don’t want to jump into anything too quickly without doing the proper due diligence so we can ensure the next partnership is a long­term venture.”
 
City council voted to continue to lease the marina’s bar/restaurant space until the city can pay off its debt and sell the property.
 
Written by Pat LaFleur, RCN contributor
 
Photo: Dayton Marina/RCN file