Threats To the Market
It took Royal Oak’s Farmers Market 90+ years to evolve into the best suburban market in the region, let’s not let the City and the Civic Center Development project ruin it overnight. This project threatens its future in the following ways; each and every one of them is reason alone to stop the Civic Center Development project.
Elimination of 80% of Free Surface Parking Spaces Surrounding the Farmers Market
The new City Hall and Police Station will be located in the existing Farmers Market surface parking lot, eliminating 80% of the currently free parking spaces. Shoppers will be forced to park blocks away, in a (5 story, 450 space) parking deck and pay. However, 300 parking deck permits will be issued to tenants of the planned commercial office building, so space may not be available.
Would you continue to shop in a grocery store that required you to park in a 5 story parking deck, pay for parking and then walk several blocks with your grocery bags? Of course not! This new inconvenient parking plan will drive shoppers and vendors away to other area markets and lead to the decline and death of Royal Oak’s Farmers Market.
Parking Fees and Fines will be Charged in the Parking Deck
Traditionally, parking has been free during Farmers Market hours. However, parking will not be free in the new deck. Revenue bonds will be issued to fund it and bond contracts require that fees and fines be charged during all hours of operation.
Conflicts with the Master Plan
One goal of Royal Oak Master Plan is to “maintain and improve the Farmers Market.” The Civic Center project eliminates 80% of the Market’s most convenient free parking spots and will drive shoppers and vendors away from the market. This will cause undo harm to the Market, placing the Civic Center Development project in direct conflict with the Master Plan’s goal to “maintain and improve the Farmers Market”. The Civic Center project should be stopped and sent back to the drawing board.
Failure of the Mayor & City Commission to Perform Their Duties
The Civic Center Development is the largest development project to be undertaken in Royal Oak; it will change our downtown forever. Yet our elected officials have neglected to perform even the most basic due diligence functions such as professional traffic, parking, environmental, economic or other impact studies. They are rolling the dice with the future of our downtown and gambling tax dollars! These same officials have ignored the comments of its citizens and have not made any serious effort to reach out to affected area businesses, despite what they say.
Elected officials have failed in their basic fiduciary duties by not performing the necessary scrutiny for a project of this size and scope and the Civic Center Development project should be stopped for this reason alone. We cannot let our City Officials gamble away the Farmers Market, tax dollars and our downtown. Our City’s future planning should be based on citizen input and fact based professional analysis of what is best for Royal Oak as a whole, not on a backroom the roll of the dice.
Millions of Tax Dollars Given Away
The City is giving $5,500,000 in tax dollars to partially fund construction of a commercial building and the Civic Center Development. The Mayor & Commission have resorted to using deceptive language to hide this payment from the public. The City is also selling a multi-million dollar parking lot (Williams Lot) for $1.00. That is correct, $1.00! If the development is not financially viable, it should not be built. The development should finance its own building, just like the Farmers Market vendors finance their own businesses and you finance your own home improvements.
Exclusive No Bid Contract
Why was there granted an exclusive no bid contract for this project? Why doesn’t the city solicit bids from many developers to obtain the best opportunity for our city? Troy has solicited bids from developers all around the country for its new downtown project. Something is not right with what is going on here…..
Royal Oak will soon be issuing millions of dollars in bonds to fund this project. The city plans on exceeding its 5% debt limits set by our charter, which is the law. Why is Royal Oak going out on a financial limb to fund a totally discretionary project for a private developer? Shouldn’t it keep some borrowing capacity in reserve for a rainy day? Or fix the roads, or…..