Construction on the Paper District Marina could begin as early as next month.
The much-ballyhooed marina would likely feature 62 slips of mostly transient dockage and a 38,000-square-foot amphitheater.
George Poulos, the city's chief building inspector, described the pre-construction phase so far as 85 percent complete.
John Hancock, a consultant for the city helping with the project, said he'd like to submit a proposed contract between the city and Hoty Builders to the Sandusky City Commission by May 24.
If approved, the $3 million project could begin in early June.
The marina would be located on the Tricor Property, just west of Chesapeake Lofts.
"The city's been in a little disarray since November," Hancock said. "But since March 1, when we really got the go ahead, George, (city's deputy engineer) Kathy (McKillips) and I have really been hustling to put all proposals together."
The project will be built in two phases. The first phase, which will cost about $1.5 million, includes marine infrastructure like the marina basin, walls and armor stone.
The city will fund that using about $800,000 from a Clean Ohio Revitalization Grant, and about $700,000 from the Chesapeake TIF, Hancock said. The TIF collects a percentage of the property tax revenues generated by the Chesapeake Lofts project, and the money must go back into the Paper District.
The second phase of the project includes the docks and bath house.
The city hopes to fund that portion through an Ohio Department of Natural Resources boating grant.
The grant, worth $650,000, would have a matching $650,000 component provided by the Chesapeake TIF.
McKillips said the city won't learn until at least September if it won that grant.
"If the city does not win this grant, we could resubmit during the next grant cycle or apply for other grant funding," McKillips wrote in an e-mail. "I do not know the likelihood of being awarded the ODNR Grant, but we have a very good project with the Paper District Marina."
Hancock said the city "had a pretty good feeling we'll be able to get something out of that grant," but added, "there's no 100 percent certainty."
He said because the two phases don't overlap, Hoty could finish all the necessary construction on the first phase, even if the city didn't want the grant.
The first phase will likely take until November, Hancock said. If the city wins the grant, the marina could open next year.