New Baltimore Mayor Larry Smith is in talks with an undisclosed Detroit restaurant eyeing a prime piece of waterfront real estate in the city's downtown.
The conversation comes on the heels of city leaders' plans to potentially lease the , essentially moving the to the school property off Washington outside the downtown area. If that deal is reached by fall, Smith would like to see the recreation center at Washington and Main demolished as well as the adjacent police station. Police are moving next month to on Green Street.
"My vision is we would clear that whole waterfront area—the police station, the recreation center" to make way for a restaurant and parking accommodations, he said.
In terms of his vision for the restaurant, Smith said "we're a blue-collared city. I want something that's moderately priced, but creates a great city feel." He also would like outdoor seating so patrons can enjoy the scenic waterfront.
He said he's been in talks with a "big-restaurant from Detroit" about the property overlooking and Anchor Bay but declined to say which one in these early stages of talks.
Leasing Anchor Bay School District property
New Baltimore city officials are considering closing the Parks and Recreation building in the downtown and . Doing so would allow the city to utilize school grounds and gym hours in . It would also cost about the same amount of money—roughly $400,000 annually—as running the current recreation center, according to city officials.
The lease, expected to span about five years, would ideally benefit the school district, which is grappling with an and announced it had to lay off about 30 employees in recent weeks.
"This would help the district out and it would be an enhancement for us," Smith said.
Anchor Bay Schools Human Resources Director Robert Tidd said he thinks the lease would be great for the school district and for the community. Ideally, district and city officials could reach a deal by fall, he said.
New Baltimore Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Carlos Aprea said the school gym as well baseball diamonds, track and football and soccer fields on site will be great additions for the department.
"I see nothing but potential to grow," Aprea said.
The department, which offers paid and free classes at the center and Burke Park, will continue to have select classes in the park if a deal is struck to lease the aquatic center, he said.