Our view: End result of deal between cities, county rewarding
Dec 01, 2011 | 979 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There’s no other way to say it: The cooperative deal between Leeds, Moody and St. Clair County to bring Bass Pro and The Shops of Grand River outlet mall to the area was a long, vexing affair, one that caused lawyers, government officials and reporters alike to spend many hours parsing over the smallest detail, over and over again.

That said, the end result has been rewarding.

Begun in 2004, the cooperative district officially dissolved Monday afternoon when the district ratified the 6th Amended and Restated Cooperative District Agreement, in which the city of Leeds bought out both Moody and the county and took sole ownership of the entities within the district. Specifically, that means that, in the future, Leeds will control both the benefits and the liabilities that come from Bass Pro, from the Grand River outlet mall and any other business that locates in the area around Exit 140 off Interstate 20.

That the deal was amended and restated six different times since 2004 should tell citizens all they need to know about the strenuous negotiation and re-negotiation that has occupied so much of the attention of the civic leaders and attorneys from all three entities. And that is before we even discuss the mistrust that exists between many of the officials who were involved in the deal. It is unlikely any of them will want to do business again anytime soon.

Even so, St. Clair County Commission Chairman Stan Batemon believes the venture to have been largely a successful one.

“In the long run, we ended up with the Bass Pro Shop and the Shops of Grand River,” he said. “They have produced revenues that are paying for Leeds School System’s capital projects and also are furnishing jobs for anywhere between 600-700 people.

“I think it was a very successful process and it was very complicated.”

Batemon is spot-on. While those who engineered the original deal may never have envisioned the amount of paperwork necessary to bring it to fruition, their vision of a thriving interchange that will eventually lead to further development in St. Clair County was a healthy one.

We congratulate them on achieving that, and for what we hope will be even better news down the road.

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