Common sense says park is better choice for OCTV home

Why is it whenever there’s a decision to be made or an issue to be examined, government’s first reaction is usually to form a committee rather than exercise a little common sense?

I have nothing against using committees to gather information, weigh pros and cons, and present findings.

But it’s not always necessary to do this when the decision could so easily be made by employing simple logic.

Such is the case when it comes to the question of relocating the Oxford Community Television (OCTV) station.

Should the station move into the village’s 50-year-old municipal complex on W. Burdick St. or build a brand new facility in Seymour Lake Township Park?

The Oxford Area Cable Communications Commission has a committee studying the question. Please see this week’s story, “Park or complex? Cable commission directs committee to examine station options.”

To me, the park is the obvious choice.

Ron Davis, director of the Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Department, has previously said it’s his intention to give the cable commission, at no cost, land on which to build a new station.

“The Township of Oxford has already invested by purchasing that (park) property, so it would be ridiculous . . . to make the cable (commission) buy the property from us,” he told cable officials back in March.

“I don’t see us charging you for the footprint. Let’s just invest that (money) in the building. If you guys can do more in your building with (those) funds saved or outside, I think that would be a win-win,” Davis noted.

Free land doesn’t come along every day and only a blithering idiot would pass up something like that.

The only thing the cable commission would have to pay for is construction and it has more than enough money (a little more than $450,000 in its fund balance) saved to do this. And that money comes from the franchise fees paid by cable subscribers. None of it is tax money.

With this option, a station could be built, from the ground up, to specifically suit OCTV’s needs. No repurposing or retrofitting required. No making do with what’s available. No trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Best of all, the cable commission would own the building. No more landlords. No more paying rent. No more living in somebody else’s house.

When it comes to the station, the cable commission would have complete control over its destiny. That’s something it has never had before.

Up until 2004, the OCTV station was housed inside the old high school off Lakeville Rd. But when the district transformed the old high school into the current middle school, its remodeling plans did not include any space to house the station there or inside the new high school. The station was forced to move out and lease commercial space at 1775 N. Lapeer Rd. and it has been there ever since. End of history lesson.

It’s always better to own something than rent it. It gives you control. It gives you independence. It gives you security. It gives you stability. It gives you an investment. It gives you a home, not just a space.

Building the OCTV station in Seymour Lake Township Park would give the cable commission all those things.

Moving into the village complex would give the cable commission and OCTV none of those things. It’s a bad idea, period.

First of all, if OCTV moves into the complex it’s still going to have a landlord – the village.

As such, at any point in time, the village could decide to exercise its voter-approved authority to sell the complex, then OCTV would once again find itself hunting for a new home. The chances of the township ever deciding to sell Seymour Lake Park are essentially nil.

I highly doubt the village would ever decide to sell the cable commission a portion of the building, nor should it.

That would be the dumbest thing the village has ever done – which is saying a lot – because splitting the ownership would hamper the municipality’s ability to sell it. And someday, the village may need to sell the building if it ever finds itself in dire financial straits or residents come to their senses and vote to dissolve the municipality or some developer comes along and makes them an offer that’s too good to refuse.

The bottom-line is if OCTV moves into the municipal building, it’s still going to be a renter writing a check every month to a landlord who holds all the cards.

I also don’t like the idea of OCTV potentially investing any money to help fix up the aging building or bring it up to code. Investing money in someone else’s property is just throwing it away, even if they give you a break on the rent.

There’s something else to be considered here and that’s motivation.

Davis’ motivation to relocate the station to Seymour Lake Park is based on a desire to strengthen and deepen his department’s relationship with OCTV and provide more opportunities for programming and community involvement. He’s looking to make OCTV more of a partner.

The village’s motivation to move the station into the W. Burdick St. complex can be summed up in one simple word – desperation.

It’s no secret the village is in need of revenue. It’s mentioned at practically every council meeting. The only thing officials haven’t done is pull their pockets inside out as a visual aid.

It’s no secret that once the parks and recreation department moves out this week, most of the building is going to be vacant. Can you say ghost town, kids? I knew that you could.

It’s no secret that it’s a 50-year-old building in need of repairs and improvements. Then there’s the crumbling parking lot, which looks like it was imported from Afghanistan. I would be shocked if it didn’t make the cover of next month’s edition of Third World Better Homes and Gardens.

Bottom-line, Seymour Lake Park is the most logical, the most responsible and the most suitable choice for OCTV’s new home.

Common sense tells me this and that beats a government committee any day.


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