This is to benefit Carriage Trails

There is an interesting (and should be controversial item) on the agenda Monday night.  It would be controversial if some of the more conservative members of the community were aware.  This is because the proposal is set up to allow the developers of Carriage Trails to get State money with no real benefit to the State or the City. 
Interestingly, one of the Council member was struggling with why we would do such a thing when the Chairman of the Administration Committee managed to end the discussion by stating, "I'm good with it" and then asking me, "Mayor are you good with it".  I knew how I would vote if given the opportunity.  More importantly the Council Member who was struggling had on at least two occasions said something to the effect that --- this just benefits Carriage Trails and does nothing for the City.  Having a full and open discussion on an issue is my goal and determining this had occurred I replied in the affirmative (or I was caught off guard and answered reflexively). 
In the picture below you can see 36 acres of land depicted in green.  This land is currently on a 99 year green space restriction because of an agreement between the city and the developer.  Currently, the developer maintains this area as a walking path.  At some point the home owners association will have to take over maintenance responsibilities. 
The proposal is to submit an application with the expectation that the State would purchase the property and then deed it to the City.  The developer said they would write the sales contract so the homeowners would still be responsible for the upkeep of the maintenance.  The length of time it will be required to stay a green space will increase from 99 years to forever. 
We talked about other properties that might be better for the city to apply to acquire.  One of the requirements is that the property be forever designated a green space.  Staff indicated they could not find any other better suited land to acquire at this time.
We did talk about the hazards of applying for this land.  A statement was made that a successful application would mean we would be more likely to win again - foot in the door concept.  I suspect that if we got it we would be put at the back of the line for future applications.  We didn't talk about how it would affect our reputation with those in charge of the project if they found out this was just a means to get money into the hands of a favorite developer. 
We also talked about the need for an appraisal.  The appraisal will cost about $4,000.  Monday night I found out the appraisal was already underway.  If Council decides not to pursue this application or if  the application is denied then the city pays this appraisal fee.  If the application is accepted then the State will pay for the appraisal. 
There was also discussion on tying the walking path into some more green space to the south so people using this area can go directly to the Aquatic Center.  This is likely to happen whether the City owns this land or it remains part of the Carriage Trails properties.   
After I answered the Chairman's question we made eye contact and I indicated he should make sure the Council member with doubts was good with it.  But instead we heard; if that's alright with the committee, it will be on Monday's agenda.  A couple seconds later we were talking about something else.  It will be interesting Monday night to see if she really was good with it and how many other council members are too. 

Green space proposal
Here is the link to the Administration Committee Packet and the City Council Meeting Packet
Agenda Item Description or Legislation Title
A Resolution Authorizing The City Manager To Submit A Project Application For Grant Funding Through The Ohio Public Works Commission Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program District For Fiscal Year 2015, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
Purpose and Background
The Ohio Public Works Commission is accepting grant applications through the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Fund.  Grant funding is available for projects that focus on environmental conservation, including acquisition of green space and the protection and enhancement of river and stream corridors.  The City would like to prepare an application to purchase green space land that is located north of Shull Road in the Carriage Trails residential development.  Two parcels totaling 36 acres have been designated as green space and promoted as use for hiking or walking in the development plan.  Grant applications are due October 30, 2014 by noon.  A land appraisal is currently underway to determine a value for this land.