After reading and agreeing to the previous letters to the editor opposed to the city's Altair purchase, I can no longer be silent.

To the Editor:

After reading and agreeing to the previous letters to the editor opposed to the city's Altair purchase, I can no longer be silent. The city of Westerville is in no way qualified or structured to be developers.

As a Westerville taxpayer myself, I want to know why Westerville officials think they can spend our taxpayer money on vacant property.

First of all, it is not the "city's" money, it is taxpayer money. Secondly, they do not have the knowledge or structure to successfully develop anything. They believe they can't fail because they have no debt. Well, they do! They "owe" the taxpayers of Westerville to be frugal with people's hard-earned money. They are the government, not a private business. Why should the government compete within the private sector? Private business cannot compete with the sum of all taxpayer dollars.

It would be absolutely ridiculous to believe the city of Westerville is better suited to develop this land, compared to the Solove Family, which for many years has developed numerous sites in Westerville. I also have developed many tax-paying properties in Westerville.

As a developer, I personally invested millions of dollars in Westerville by opening the Westerville Athletic Club. For many years we were successful and therefore paid property, city, and employee taxes. The city of Westerville decided to again join the private sector of business by purchasing and developing a valuable piece of real estate on Cleveland Avenue into a multi-million dollar athletic club and put us out of business. I had no choice but to close my athletic club. The good news is that I then donated the property to the Oakstone Academy, a school for autistic children. In spite of the city's mean spirited way, the building now has a great purpose.

More recently, I have been involved in an attempt to purchase the old post office site on State Street. This is a location that the federal government put on the market to sell. We wanted to purchase this property and privately develop a business, which again would generate more tax money for the city. In this instance, the city did many actions to oppose our purchase because city officials felt they would like to own the property. This is a prime commercial piece of ground that should be developed by the private sector so to produce financial support to the city by paying property tax, city tax, and employee tax. RIDICULOUS! It would be a flagrant misuse of taxpayer money by keeping a private business out of Westerville.

There are many more examples that I am aware of regarding government abuse, however in effort to keep this from going on forever, I end it here.

Maybe a follow up?

Don Kenney
real estate developer