Past city commissions, beginning in the 1920s, exercising vision and persistence, purchased or terminated leases for private industries once dotting East Battery Park. Dedicated in 1925, the result is East Battery Park as we know it today. No other public property parcel along our waterfront affords the public a view of nearly the entire Sandusky Bay. East Battery Park should be treated as any other dedicated park in the city.
Millions in local, federal and state dollars have been spent transforming the 30 acre site into the “recreation hub” of Sandusky as documented through numerous studies, including the Battery Park Master Plan.
Trampling 30 acres of public open space is easier and less costly for the developer compared to securing and developing private property. As Sandusky Waterfront Development LLC and Sandusky Bay Development, operators of Battery Park Marina, work independently toward a takeover of the Battery Park Proper, filling the land with condominiums, two private pools and a private picnic area, the general public and Sandusky Sailing Club will be squeezed into sharing space inferior in location and view of Sandusky Bay.
The Sandusky Bay Pavilion/Surf’s Up citizen committee recommended the city retain ownership of the property as an entertainment complex. Festivals held on site were well-attended, especially the Maritime Museum’s Big Splash event.
No need to run the developer out of town. The city can’t decide when or where to relocate city hall discussing several alternate sites. Likewise, the city and developer should be exploring alternate sites for the private development. It’s time for city leaders and the private community to roll up their sleeves and show some imagination, innovation and vision. Develop condominiums and a hotel on vacant Apex and ice house properties on First Street. Better yet, persuade Mack Iron, an exemplary corporate citizen for 75 years, to relocate their operations into a vacant industrial site (take your pick), relocate the cable company and acquire the vacant lot west of Mack Iron. Throw in the abandoned Sandusky Cabinet property, controlled by the city, and suddenly a four city block parcel opens up for development on the correct side of the street away from the waterfront.
Pie in the sky pipe dream? Not so. The 1991 Port Development Study ($75,000) recommends such private development. The city has been very successful in going after government grant money for private development. Government grant money for relocating functioning industry is available.