LEADS FORUM: Lay groundwork for downtown's future

By DAVID MACK, Sandusky LEADS Class of 2008 As a new resident of dow
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

By DAVID MACK, Sandusky

LEADS Class of 2008

As a new resident of downtown Sandusky, I have had the opportunity to enjoy the scenic waterfront, various parks and many locally-owned restaurants. The proposed Marina District project offers our downtown and surrounding community with a plan for development that will benefit not only our current residents, but also future generations to come. The 30-acre development of residential, retail and open parks will create an improved waterfront appearance and an increase in population for the downtown area. According to research commissioned by the Sandusky Erie County Community Foundation, the Marina District project is projected to add approximately $250 billion dollars in spending, taxes and income generated over the seven-year, three-phase project. Yet, this increase in revenue can only become a reality with the continued support of Sandusky residents and elected officials.

As a city, it is important to focus on the big picture and see this development as a great opportunity for our community. For years, the unique tourism assets of downtown Sandusky have remained untapped resources for a city that must transition from an industry-based economy. Perhaps, the new construction in the city's Paper District will serve as an example for the kind of development essential to sustain a thriving economy in Sandusky.

The Chesapeake Lofts has become the front runner in the area's transition to a vibrant waterfront district. This new residential district has promoted retail and restaurant growth throughout the area while increasing the customer base of existing establishments. In its first year of occupancy, the Chesapeake Lofts have served, not only as permanent homes for Sandusky residents, but also as weekend getaways for out-of-town guests and tourists. These additions to the downtown area inject the economy with the necessary funds to support future development that will, ultimately, cater to the needs and desires of the millions of people who visit Sandusky each year. Downtown development will also serve as an attractive alternative to the U.S. 250 corridor that now serves as the major retail area in the city. Instead of moving traffic from the downtown area, the city should funnel more business into the unique and beautiful attractions of Lake Erie.

With the help of this development, the initial ground work has been laid for future development like the Marina District. Our city leaders have invested countless hours into the conception of the project, and I have full confidence those same leaders will turn this into reality. I am proud to be a part of the downtown community and look forward to being part of the transition about to unfold.

Mack, a Sandusky resident, works at South Shore Marine in Huron