Friday, February 13th, 2009
By William Kincaid
Pullman Bay land swap OK'd by Celina council
  A land swap at Pullman Bay Park in Celina between the city and a developer was finally passed this week.
All city council members except long-time opponent Ed Jeffries approved the two related ordinances on their final readings this week. City officials have said the swap was needed to create a safer entrance to the park.
Celina Planning and Community Development Director Kent Bryan has negotiated with the property owner, Ron Amstutz, for almost a year now since the proposal was first introduced to council. The proposal remained largely unchallenged and unquestioned by the community except for a few citizens early last year.
The city will close County Road where the current park entrance crosses over the R.J. Corman railroad track and create a new entrance along Lake Shore Drive. To do that, the city needs the Amstutz land to create a road, as well as maintain access to the properties adjacent to the park.
The ordinances had remained tabled for months as Bryan secured the necessary final signatures. Some of the signatories were often out of town or unavailable, he said.
"That's why it took so much time getting it off the table and to you," Bryan told council members during a meeting early this week.
The project to move the en-
trance will begin in the next several weeks.
"We wouldn't start this project until after the weather warms up a bit," Bryan said. "I think we would all like to get it done this spring."
All of the vacated County Road south of the railroad crossing will go to Amstutz Properties, except for a 10-foot-wide portion adjacent and parallel to the east right of way. That piece of land will become the property of Celina Wine Store, owner of the Pullman Bay Restaurant.
Property south of East Market Street and north of the railroad right-of way will go to Casey Jones Restaurant owners John Bertke, Linda L. Poor and Lois A. Spohn, each receiving an undivided 1/3 interest.
Amstutz Properties agreed to trade lot 5, amounting to 0.149 acre, and another 0.024 acre in Dickman's Addition for the city's 0.535-acre parcel in the park. The land exchange allows for a safer entrance to the park and its parking lot, while allowing Amstutz to square off his property, city officials have said.
Amstutz last year said he may use his land to build condominiums, but had no immediate plans.
The agreement includes several conditions. Under the section on boat docks, it states it is the city's intention to insure access to the waters of Grand Lake from the west line of the property deeded to Amstutz. This allows Amstutz or subsequent property owners to extend the lake waters onto their property in order to construct boat docks.
Bryan also added a section that prevents the city from having to dredge the portion of the channel if the water - owned by the state - were to recede.
In order to make the trades legal, the city got permission from the Ohio legislature - specifically through Rep. James Zehringer of the 77th District - in the form of House Bill 119 in the 127th General Assembly. Municipalities normally are restricted from trading properties they own by state law.
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