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Bringing people, business to town

Andy Ouriel • Oct 22, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Answering the question, “How do you attract more residents and businesses into Sandusky?” is about as complex as solving the meaning of life.

But seven city commission candidates vying for three open seats this November each offered up a possible solution.

Nobody’s denying Sandusky’s ability to attract visitors, being a must-visit tourist destination.

But the city — home to 25,800 — is losing residents.

Sandusky suffered a 7 percent population drop in the 10-year period from 2000-2010, according to the U.S. Census.

The 2000 Census counted 27,800 residents in the city. By 2010, that number dropped by 3,000.    Several companies throughout this Rust Belt community have either closed up or severely cut down on staffing.

At a recent Register campaign debate at Sandusky High School, a student asked how candidates could draw more people and businesses into the area.

Another city commission candidat debate will be broadcast live from the State Theatre this Thursday at 7 p.m.

Here are the responses:

• “I believe in a concept called anchor institutions. In your community, you have big institutions. Firelands hospital is one, Kalahari is certainly one, Cedar Point is certainly one. You partner with them. You find ways, as they grow, for you to grow. You grow from within. It’s so difficult to attract new people in this community. We need to retain and expand the ones you have here.” — Dick Brady

• “In order to attract people to Sandusky, we have to do as a government what governments are supposed to do. We need to work with our streets, water, fire, police, neighborhoods and parks and recreation departments. Let’s make this a community where people are knocking on our doors to come in. The way to do that is to invest in yourself.” — Diedre Cole, city commissioner

• “People travel from Toledo and Sandusky just to go to Cleveland for an expo. Make your own city exciting. You invite people to teen expos, to teen pageants, to teen garage sales. You become own entrepreneurs. You make this place exciting.” — Patricia Ferguson

• “We’re knocking down old factory buildings and creating a canvas for a nice city. We have to keep cleaning up the neighborhoods.” — John Hamilton, ex officio mayor

• “Businesses move where people are. It’s not the other way around. What we need is a vision for our community that draws people. It’s walkable, we have great historic buildings that are inexpensive and great to remodel or fix up. We have waterfront assets and a lot of great amenities." — Dennis Murray Jr.

• “We have to present an image to people that we are a forwardthinking community and a welcoming community. We seek the input from all of our community members. We want to see people succeed, and we want businesses to be successful.” — Scott Schell

• “When people are looking for communities to move into, they look for strong school systems and a strong local government. Those are two things we can work on that bring attention to our beautiful community. We are in a position that we need a government that works for the people.” — Naomi Twine

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