City Divided by Charter Amendment

City Hall in the Troy Civic Center.


Kendyl Gatzemeyer

City hall in the Troy Civic Center.

Kendyl Gatzemeyer, Entertainment Editor

A Troy City Charter amendment will be on the ballot in the upcoming November election. The amendment will determine the fate of the Troy Civic Center and whether the land will be used to create Downtown Troy.
“The Charter amendment is a citizen-initiated amendment that they’re putting on the ballot,” current Mayor Pro-TEM on the Troy City Council Ellen Hodorek said. “It came about because we were looking at the Civic Center property and the possibilities for development, things that we could do on the property to enhance and revitalize it.”
Hodorek has been serving on city council for the past four years and is currently running for reelection. She had planned to step down from her position until discussion of the Charter amendment started.
“There are some folks that feel that [the Civic Center] should be completely protected and always go to a vote of the people. I can’t disagree with that,” Hodorek said.
Save the Troy Civic Center is the Facebook group that originally proposed the Charter amendment. According to their page, the group is dedicated to preserving the community use of the Civic Center.
“Section 12.3 of the City Charter has a very restrictive referendum procedure for renting or leasing long term use of public property. There is no provision for the sale of public property,” the group wrote.
According to state law, voters have control over the sale of park land. In the city of Troy, citizens are not allowed to vote upon all public land excluding park land. Voting yes for the Charter amendment would allow all public land to be voted upon and sold by citizens, putting over 200 organizations who use more than two acres of land at the discretion of voters. For some, this is nerve wracking.
“I think Troy needs a downtown space, but I’m not sure that it is the best plan,” Sharon MacDonell, member of the Vote No on the Extreme Charter Amendment Committee said.
MacDonell’s committee serves to increase awareness about the amendment and the dangers they feel it proposes.
“The Charter Amendment Proposal is a huge problem because it will hurt Troy’s relationships with businesses, nonprofits and volunteer groups,” MacDonell said.
Many in the committee fear that the amendment will cause an immediate suspension of lease for organizations that use more than two acres of land individually in agreement with the city, including Troy Beaumont Hospital, the Troy Youth Soccer Club and the Troy Historic Village.
“Ten years from now, when these students have gone to college–they’re owning a home and raising children–they may want to do something on the Civic Center property,” Hodorek said. “As cities and the region evolve, this will have made it more complicated to do that. For me there is a legacy issue.”

Kendyl Gatzemeyer
City hall, part of the Troy Civic Center property, has the potential to be lost in the new charter amendment.