The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

After 35 years and millions of investment, River East Economic Revitalization Corporation has closed its doors.

The East Toledo-based Community Development Corporation assisted and educated the local business community, created and maintained jobs, operated a business incubator, and redeveloped existing buildings and vacant land, in particular, brownfield sites.

A recent real estate assessment on the Lucas County website had 53 properties listed as being owned by River East Corporation, but former board members say those properties have been sold or have been negotiated for sale and are awaiting closing.

“Fifty-three properties is a lot — that basically has been whittled down to nothing,” said Neil MacKinnon, an east side businessman who served over 10 years on the board. “We didn’t file for bankruptcy and we worked out agreements with the creditors and everybody has been very creative working with us.”

River East is best known for The Docks in International Park, the renovation of the historic Weber Block at Main and Front, Starboardside Condominiums, and its role in nurturing the proposed Marina District.

At least two of the three owners who partnered to purchase the Weber Block wish to continue renovating the building.

Businessman Bill Lorenzen and his son Justin Lorenzen are two of three partners who purchased the historic building from the River East Economic Revitalization Corporation, which closed and liquidated its assets. 

Justin lived in East Toledo until he was 10 years old, and understands the historic importance of the Weber Block. His family later moved to Oregon, and Justin lives in downtown Toledo now.

The partnership is in business to develop and sell commercial estate, including shopping centers, heavy industrial buildings, and warehouses.

“(The Weber Block) doesn’t really pull a profit right now, but as a kid walking through there and stuff like it is a little bit of nostalgia for us,” Justin Lorenzen said.

“We’re looking forward to remodeling it and bringing it up to speed, and in the next year or so we hope to have it fully occupied or as much as we can. We’re going to have all new windows, probably all new furnaces, and to do that is not going to be cheap.

Columbia Gas of Ohio this week filed its Gas Cost Recovery (GCR) adjustment for March with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), a cost that is considerably less than the cost of natural gas last March.

The GCR of 44 cents per Ccf (100 cubic feet) of natural gas will be 51 cents lower than last March, when it was 95 cents.

Warmer weather decreased the typical residential customers March bill to $91.60, compared to $104.31 last month.

The March bill will be $70.73 lower than last March, which was $162.33.

The March GCR will be in effect from March 1 through March 29.

The low GCR has had an impact on Interstate Gas Supply (IGS), an alternate natural gas supplier hired by the Northwest Ohio Aggregation Coalition (NOAC), a consortium of communities that includes Oregon, Northwood, Lake Township, Toledo, Maumee, Sylvania, Perrysburg, the Village of Holland, and unincorporated areas of Lucas County. It’s rate is always 3.5 cents per Ccf less than Columbia’s price.

Family farms in Wood and Lucas counties are among the 11 properties totaling nearly 1,000 acres being added this year to the holdings of the Black Swamp Conservancy.

The new properties, which are protected through perpetual land conservation agreements with the conservancy, include:
• Family farms in Wood County (41 acres) and Lucas County (147 acres)

• South Lake Hunt Club, a 71-acre marsh in Ottawa County

• Four farms covering about 320 acres near Delta in Fulton County

• A scenic overlook parcel near Sidecut Metropark in Maumee

• Port Clinton Lakefront Preserve, a 14-acre public park near Lake Erie

• A 73-acre wildlife sanctuary along the Maumee River in Paulding County.

• A 247-acre farm near Tiffin

Jerusalem Township’s police steering committee is preparing a questionnaire to get feedback from the public on what kind of police services they would like to have.

The committee, which consists of six residents, meets every couple of weeks to discuss options on providing police protection to the township.

“Policing is supposed to represent the population, and we want to know what they want,” said Ron Frederick, a member of the commission.

Voters last November rejected by over a two to one margin a 3.5-mill, one year police levy that would have raised revenue to pay the sheriff to patrol the township.

The township currently receives sheriff’s patrols at no charge from Lucas County. That will end this year. Lucas County commissioners last summer notified nine unincorporated areas in the county, including Jerusalem Township, that they will be charged for sheriff’s patrols due to budgetary constraints.

The notification sent townships scrambling for ways to raise funds to continue getting their current level of services from the sheriff, or contract with adjacent communities for police protection. To maintain sheriff patrols, Jerusalem Township, which has a population of 3,181 within a 30.4 square mile area, would have been charged $347,000 annually by the sheriff.

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