Relocation feud stalls Port Clinton lighthouse restoration

Restoration work on a century-old wooden lighthouse has stalled amid a disagreement between its owners and a northwest Ohio city along Lake Erie.
Associated Press
Jan 22, 2013


The Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy and the owner want to put the revamped, four-sided structure at a park just offshore, but Port Clinton officials want it further from the water, The (Toledo) Blade reported.

After a yearlong stalemate, the conservancy is trying to rally residents to pressure city officials to change their minds. Conservancy president Richard Norgard argued in a letter to the newspaper that putting the preserved lighthouse on the waterfront could attract visitors and help boost the local economy.

"We believe that the full restoration of the lighthouse and its placement on the waterfront will do more than preserve a vital piece of local history for future generations," Norgard wrote.

The lighthouse was built in 1896 and guided boaters entering the Portage River for about three decades, but it was relocated and has been at its owner's marina for more than 60 years.

Owner Darrell Brand and the conservancy began talking with city officials in November 2011 about how the lighthouse could contribute to downtown revitalization. Brand offered to transfer ownership to the city, whose council accepted the offer before negotiations fell apart.

Mayor Vincent Leone said Brand's demands included placing the lighthouse in a certain park.

"Anytime we can secure an important part of our history we think it's a good idea," Leone said. "But it was a gift with a lot of conditions, so I was unwilling to accept those."

The conservancy has raised about $13,000 of the expected $30,000 total project cost, said John Smothers, a member of the restoration group.

He and other volunteers have started refurbishing the top of the lighthouse, which was removed more than a year ago. He said the next step would be replacing rotted wood and the base.




That little thing is a lighthouse? I've been in outhouses bigger than that. Knock it down and build a real one!


What is it with old people and not understanding the concept of donation? If you want to get rid of that outhouse do so, but you don't get to say what happens to it when its being maintained with public funds.

Remember that old guy who donated the land to Erie Metro Parks, same deal.

Bottom line: no one is traveling to see a glorified shed anyway. The mayor was right to tell them to keep their chicken coop.

Any typos?


Pretty sure "that old guy" SOLD the land to MetroParks. It may have been a "bargain sale," in which case the difference between the alledged market value and reduced price paid is deemed to a tax-deductable charitable donation.


+1 Wired. When I go by this now, I will refer to this as "The Outhouse".


Where's the light?


I believe that's just part of the lighthouse but it would figure that Port Clinton won't accept the owner's conditions, which are not extreme and would likely attract more visitors. Not sure why this guy was voted in; the last mayor was much more proactive and friendly. I am proud to say I live outside of the city.

Finn Finn

I agree. Leone got in because Redfern and his "Democratic machine" pumped money into his campaign in an all out effort to defeat previous Mayor, Debbie Tester. Mayor Tester was indeed much more friendly, on the ball, and better for the City of Port Clinton.
I am also proud to say I live outside the City.


Most of humanity is proud to say it lives outside of PC. Good job guys!


Attn. younger people - sadly this is how most of America functions. Help me try to make it better please.


Don't worry, our time will come.


At one time the Portage River ended at East Harbor.
Catawba Island was an Island.
That Lighthouse served a purpose in it's day.
It means nothing to most people in this day and age.