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To the Editor: The letters published ...


To the Editor:

The letters published in the Grosse Pointe News June 17 issue, "Lakeshore zoning," and "Maintain lakefront property," about the Grosse Pointe War Memorial were very disheartening in the sense that they portrayed the War Memorial in a poor light rather than the vibrant and honorable community organization that it is.

For more than 50 years, we have proudly enhanced the quality of life in our community by providing outstanding programs and services in honor of veterans all at no tax expense to our residents.

Last year alone, we provided some 2,000 special programs and events to residents of all ages and hosted members of the Grosse Pointe Rotary, the Optimists, the graduating class of Grosse Pointe South and their parents, Grosse Pointe Senior Men's Club, Senior Ladies Club, and Grosse Pointe Theatre just to name a few.

We have faithfully maintained and preserved this beautiful historic site and grounds and it is in that vein that we purchased 40 Lakeshore Drive more than 10 years ago.

Once the deed restrictions on 40 Lakeshore are removed, we hope to redistribute some of our programs to a new facility in an effort to relieve some of the pressure on the historic Alger House; thus continuing to preserve this beautiful building for generations to come.

As it relates to the taxes on 40 Lakeshore, the War Memorial pays a service fee, in lieu of, but equivalent to, the Grosse Pointe Farms' share of taxes and has done so since 40 Lakeshore was rezoned to community service more than 10 years ago.

In addition to paying the city's portion of the taxes on 50 and 60 Lakeshore, the War Memorial pays the Wayne County portion as well.

The War Memorial's actions relevant to the purchase of 50 and 60 Lakeshore have been strategic efforts to eliminate the deed restrictions so that its original investment in 40 Lakeshore can be maximized for the benefit of the community.

A letter to the editor was published in the June 24 issue of the Grosse Pointe News, "Condos," that expressed some thoughtful perspectives with regard to the proposed condominium project. In response to some of those thoughts, readers should know that the War Memorial paid fair market value for the properties at the time of their purchase.

Notwithstanding the changes in Grosse Pointe's real estate market since their purchase, the War Memorial believes that the listing values placed on these properties were appropriate given their lot sizes, locations and views. After more than 24 months on the market with no serious interested buyers, but much feedback, it seems that there is no longer a demand for these larger, high-maintenance homes on estate-sized lots.

Because of the changing economy and in response to many requests for condominium-style housing in the Grosse Pointes, the War Memorial has agreed to pursue a redevelopment of the parcels into an attractive, high-end single-family, low-density condominium development in an effort to sell the property and meet a perceived community demand for condominium housing.

A series of meetings were held with focus groups that consisted of local residents with an expressed interest in purchasing this type of housing. Layouts, size, amenities, pricing, etc., were part of those discussions and plans were drawn accordingly.

The War Memorial's board, which consists of 16 members from the five Grosse Pointes, has openly discussed the relationships of its board members relative to various projects or services provided to the organization. As it relates to this development project, indeed, Michael J. Monahan, president of the Monahan Development Corp., has served as a consultant on this endeavor, gratis. While the concept to sell the properties to a development company managed by the Monahan Corp. has been discussed by the board, no formal agreement has been made. Once the necessary approvals are in place and the War Memorial is able to enter into a formal agreement, any potential conflicts of interest would be addressed at that time.

We hope that this response helps alleviate any misconceptions that you may have; and we hope that, if you are not in favor of the development project, you will keep those thoughts separate from your feelings about the War Memorial and all it does to make Grosse Pointe a unique and viable community.

For more than 50 years, the War Memorial has faithfully served you and your families and takes great pride in the programs and services it provides.

Please know we look forward to continuing that tradition well into the next century and appreciate your continued support of our mission, our programs and our future.

Mark R. Weber

President

Grosse Pointe War

Memorial

Mark R. Weber
Grosse Pointe Farms
June 30, 2004

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