During the 11 years my wife and I have owned Traveler's Bar & Grill in Port Clinton, we have seen many changes to the downtown area. The years 1997-99, auto traffic was so busy, we had to take extra time to cross Perry Street to do our banking. Our customers would line up and down our alley waiting to be served in the restaurant. Unfortunately, that is not the case today.
We have to give people a reason to come back to Port Clinton. They will not come because more condos have been built. They will come to visit a water park, a new motel, a new marina and a convention center.
Some say that we are rushing into a new development, that more time should be taken. I say, by waiting to act, we are hastening our town's demise. Let me count the empty buildings downtown; 12 at last count.
I have heard the comment that the Stonehenge Group will return more money to the city. That will only happen if all 300 condos are built. Fewer condos, less tax revenue. If 30 are completed but only 25 are sold, no more will be built until all 30 are sold. I understand that some condos will be built over retail shops. If the retail shop goes out of business, will the value of that condo be affected? Will people buy a condo over a retail shop when condos are available for sale on golf courses?
The Puller Group is willing to invest $122 million in our town. They would not invest that amount if they did not anticipate a high level of success. They will be leasing the land, the city will retain ownership. If this opportunity is lost, I believe that other opportunities will not surface. Port Clinton will be looked upon as a town that does not want development, a town that enjoys pot holes in the roads and wants to retain a park that is 90 percent gravel and rip-rap. It is time to stop going backwards, time to get behind the Puller Group and develop our deserted parking lots.