McKinley School redevelopment project in limbo

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – Following an Aug. 13 community cleanup at the former McKinley School site the council passed a resolution Aug. 15 asking all council members to provide their project recommendations.

The resolution by Councilman Leonard Sabuda, supported by Councilman Donald Schultz, referred the potential use of the site to Mayor Joseph Peterson, City Engineer Mark Kowaleski and City Attorney William Look to continue negotiations with Coachlight Properties.

They further resolved within the next two weeks every council member provide their specific site use recommendations and specific terms they would want included in any purchase agreement.

The resolution also called for those recommendations to then be forwarded to Coachlight Properties for its consideration and response.

The motion passed, with Sabuda, Schultz, Councilman Kevin VanBoxell and Peterson in favor, Councilman Daniel Galeski opposed, and Councilman Ted Miciura abstaining.

On Aug. 8 the City Council lacked the four votes needed to pass a modified redevelopment plan for the McKinley property, 640 Plum.

Council members Sheri Sutherby-Fricke and Galeski opposed the proposed purchase agreement with Coachlight Properties, with VanBoxell, Sabuda and Schultz voting in favor. Miciura was absent.

Four votes are needed for a resolution to pass. The mayor may not vote on agreements involving financial transactions, including the sale of property.

The revised Aug. 8 agreement called for 60 market rate senior citizen apartments within the existing building and an addition, and specified that Kowaleski and Look conclude negotiations with Coachlight Properties to include concerns discussed June 24, 2016.

Fricke and Galeski expressed concern over what they call bullying tactics to change their vote to side with those in the simple majority and in favor of the redevelopment.

Peterson said after the Aug. 15 council meeting that the McKinley property clean-up from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 13 was well-attended despite rain at the beginning and end of the event.

Waivers were signed by 72 volunteers, which Peterson said included families. He also commended employees of D & R Property Maintenance of Taylor, who volunteered and spread 50 yards of mulch, and Miles Power Washing employees, whose volunteer efforts noticeably improved the look of the building exterior.

Peterson said 15 to 20 workforce volunteers from the court were present, as were youth group volunteers from Wyandotte Family Church.

Peterson said he would like to see Coachlight Properties accept an offer to purchase the property.

“I would like to see the other council people come together and see what their problem is, but just because you don’t like rentals, I don’t consider that to be a justifiable reason,” Peterson said, noting  two large senior apartment buildings in the city were rentals.
Peterson declined to predict which of the three council members opposed to the project might change their mind.

“I don’t know what’s in their head,” he said. “They’ve got the same facts we’ve got. You’d have to ask them. I don’t know. I’m not going to speculate.”

If the next proposal for the McKinley property does not pass, he said he will continue to pursue redevelopment of the property until something is achieved.

“It’s a good thing, and we will keep looking into it until we find something to do with that site,” Peterson said. “I am willing to meet with any one of the three council members.”

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at