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Proposal rocks the boat

Andy Ouriel • Dec 19, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Sandusky officials made a stern request to step up security at the city’s public marina.

A budget proposal shows recreational officials requesting about $3,000 to install two gates on docks at the Paper District Marina, located on West Shoreline Drive.

The decision awaits approval from city commissioners, who vote on a final 2014 budget in March. It’s unclear when a vote would occur.

Presently, there’s no barrier in place preventing people from trespassing or vandalizing boats at the marina.

A decision to increase security results from the marina adding more seasonal, or long-term, dockage, in 2013. About half of the 64 docks are for seasonal dockage. The rest are transient, or short-term, dockage.

It’s assumed seasonal boaters would either receive a key or passcode to go through the gate, if accepted by a majority of commissioners.

“The idea of these gates is not to deter first-time or transient boaters away from the marina or downtown area,” Sandusky recreation division supervisor Victoria Kurt said. “It is for the privacy of seasonal boaters as well as overnight transit boaters”

Kurt added she’s fielded numerous calls from people concerned about a lack of security at the marina.

One local resident, however, voiced concerns about added security measures.

“There have been no reported incidents of vandalism or boats being broken into,” said Tim Schwanger, a city resident advocating for shoreline preservation and waterfront features.

Schwanger also questioned the ethics of city officials related to Paper District Marina’s evolution.

Public funds completely paid for the marina’s $3 million price tag.

In early 2010, officials submitted a grant application seeking state funds to finance the marina’s inception.

The application indicated city officials would maintain all slips as transient dockage.

In 2010, city officials said the state agency providing public funds for marinas looks favorably at projects requesting transient dockage.

But city officials began offering seasonal dockage earlier this year as a way to reverse red-ink finances. The marina generated a collective deficit of $71,000 in 2011 and 2012.

“Curiosity dictates the questions of what entity is pushing the idea of gates on the docks, what visual impact the gates will have on first-time boaters using the facility and whether the decision makers realize the original intent of the Paper District Marina?” Schwanger said.

At a glance

• Sandusky recreation officials want to spent about $3,000 on two security gates at the Paper District Marina.

• The need for added security results from attracting more seasonal, or long-term, boaters, officials said.

• One waterfront advocate said gates infringe on public use and discourage first-time marina users from coming back.

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