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Vermilion acquires former museum property

Andy Ouriel • Aug 1, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Note: Erie MetroParks did not contribute any money toward Vermilion’s acquisition of the former Inland Seas Maritime Museum. Officials provided the wrong information to the Register for a story published Friday. The below story reflects the accurate information.


The city of Vermilion now owns a legendary lakeside building previously showcasing aquatic artifacts.

This week, Vermilion officials announced they’ve successfully obtained the former Inland Seas Maritime Museum building on North Main Street.

Once the property became empty, community members wanted to resurrect the landmark facility into something viable.

So a grassroots fundraising effort commenced about three years ago, shortly after museum employees told Vermilion officials of their plans to relocate into Toledo. The museum opened in Toledo this past spring.

Fast forward to today, and administrators raised the necessary $1.65 million to acquire the 2.3-acre property.

Among the largest public and private donors and what they gave:

• $200,000 from Karen and Larry Bettcher, owner of Birmingham-based Bettcher Industries, a food and meat processing equipment manufacturer. This donation kickstarted Vermilion’s effort to acquire the building.

• $878,000: State grant given to city officials.

• $90,000: Grants from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources nature works program and the Federal Land and Water Conservation Program.

Other local foundations also provided money.

Vermilion officials have and will continue to accept opinions from community members as to how they’ll develop or transform the building.

“We will seek more public input and start planning for the next phase of development,” Vermilion Mayor Eileen Bulan said.

Among one response from a citywide survey: turn the site into a fishing museum.

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