St. Clair Shores officials remember impact of Wahby

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published December 16, 2015

 Ted Wahby

Ted Wahby

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — As the longest-serving mayor of St. Clair Shores, Macomb County Treasurer Ted Wahby had a huge impact on the city, according to Mayor Kip Walby.

Wahby began his political career with the Lake Shore Board of Education and was elected to St. Clair Shores City Council in 1981. He became mayor in 1983 and served until 1995, when he became the treasurer of Macomb County.

Living in the city for almost 55 years, Walby said that Wahby “loved this town.”

“Ted Wahby was a friend of St. Clair Shores,” Walby said, explaining that he “had friends all over” so was always able to provide assistance to the city at the county and state levels. 

Wahby created the Tax-Incremental Finance Authority (TIFA) in 1984, which eventually led to the creation of the Nautical Mile and the development along the lakefront between Nine Mile and 10 Mile roads. He was also instrumental, Walby said, in helping to rebuild the marina behind City Hall, as well as getting federal funding to redevelop Harper Avenue.

“When Ted came in as mayor in 1983, this city was in some real financial difficulties,” Walby said. “He guided it through that difficulty for 12 years (and) created a rainy day fund” that is still used by the city today. 

The Sanitation Trust was established by Wahby, as was the Activities Committee, Walby said. 

Even before his election, Wahby was involved in the late 1970s with the St. Clair Shores Hockey Association, and after his move to the county, he was part of the Michigan Department of Transportation group and fought to have the sound barrier walls installed along Interstate 94. 

“There’s just a lot that he left his mark on that were large items, and it’s a big loss,” Walby said. “I think the goal of a politician here in the community is to leave the place better than you found it, and there was no question Ted Wahby did that. 

“The city can never repay what Ted gave to us over all those years.”

City Manager Mike Smith said he appreciated Wahby’s direct nature and ability to work hard to get a project finished.

“He was never known to skirt around an issue. It made my job a lot easier,” Smith said at the Dec. 7 City Council meeting. “He’ll be missed, and that’s the way he wanted to go. He wanted to work until the day he died and, literally, he did.”

Wahby worked to help those in need and to feed the hungry through St. Margaret of Scotland Church’s food pantry, and to honor that, Walby said, there will be a new charity established called Ted’s Table to help continue that legacy. 

Councilman Ron Frederick said residents can remember Wahby, whom he called a good friend, next summer when they’re enjoying the Music by the Lake concert series, which Wahby got going with a request for sponsorship to Petitpren, which still sponsors the concerts today.

“Give Ted a little salute and say a little thanks for the concerts in the park,” Frederick said. “I’m going to miss his candor and just his ability to get things done quickly.

“He had a rolodex that was the size of Cleveland. Ted was a big part of this community, and did a lot for this community and he’ll truly be missed.”

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