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Huron buys waterfront property

Andy Ouriel • May 7, 2015 at 12:42 PM

Former Show Boat Restaurant property costs

•$305,000: Price the city of Huron paid to acquire property. 

•$50,000: Expense for engineering and initial clean-up costs. 

•$1 million: Estimated cost for complete reconstruction of property. Much of the property is fortified underwater.

Source: city of Huron


Huron officials set sail on restoring a long-neglected waterfront property many residents and tourists once loved.

During a recent sale, city council authorized spending $305,000 in state funds to acquire the former Show Boat Restaurant property on North Main Street near the North Main Pier.    A few years ago, the property’s former owners first offered this land to Huron for $1 million, which city council rejected.

Council members also just approved expensing up to $50,000 for an engineering study and an initial cleanup — consisting of removing driftwood, trash, debris and general refuse — at the decrepit site.

“The No. 1 priority of city council at this property is to start the process of rehabilitating it,” Huron city manager Andy White said. “The city is in ownership of this parcel, and we are putting together a plan to remedy the situation”

White and others developed an extensive plan to rejuvenate the property, which includes a diver going underwater and assessing structural damage.

A good chunk of the property is fortified and supported underwater, White said.

“The shore wall has failed in several areas, and the diver needs to determine what is causing the failure,” White said. “The northeast winds have steadily beat and pounded into the perimeter wall, and over 30 or 40 years, it gave way, and the supporting ground level was compromised. Once the shore wall fails, water can now penetrate through open earth and carve out openings that could eventually compromise the area and wash out city infrastructure”

A fire, which occurred a few years after the Show Boat Restaurant closed and another business operated from there, also contributed to area damage.

Other than rectifying a public nuisance, city officials want to enhance the property for economic development opportunities.

Once the area’s cleaned and cleared, the property could turn into a park or a commercial entity — or really anything more appealing than the current eyesore.

It’s also in an attractive area, with the revamped North Main Pier and Huron Boat Basin and Amphitheater nearby. A three-pronged project to reconstruct Main Street also begins this year.

Plus an improvement at the former restaurant property circles back to Huron’s $9 million master plan — a decade-long blueprint aimed at luring businesses while also persuading people to stay and move into Huron.

The plan also calls for linking several city landmarks, parks and neighborhoods, with an emphasis on highlighting waterfront features.

“The entire objective of the city council was to resolve a generations-long problem at a key entry point of the city and prepare the site to transfer for some sort of development” White said. “The benefit will help improve area properly valuations throughout the whole corridor, complementing some recreational investments we have made”

In total, the clean-up and construction costs could add up to $1 million. If everything happens according to schedule, the property could be ready for development by sometime in spring 2015.

Many Huron residents are excited about the property’s rejuvenation, including Huron resident Jake Claus, who started and owned the Show Boat Restaurant.

“It would be very pleasing to me to see that property revitalized and looking presentable again,” Claus said. “It would be great if another business went in there and just cleaning up the property is fantastic”

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