Public pier track adds to waterfront

Make the pier track public. It is, or should be, that simple. It won't hurt anyone, and it will extend the public wate
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Make the pier track public.

It is, or should be, that simple.

It won't hurt anyone, and it will extend the public waterfront access that has become a welcome hallmark of Sandusky's approach to one of its greatest assets.

To its credit, the Sandusky City Commission seems inclined to avoid the two decades of surreal acrimony that has accompanied the development of the Huron River Greenway, promising to back off if the claim to private ownership of the former rail spur causeway is too strong or too adamant.

But we think public access to the pier track would be an asset, and some sort of accomodation should be sought.

The pier track, by way of background, is a causeway that once carried a rail spur from the what was then the main east-west rail line through Sandusky, providing rail access to downtown. The ghost of the old rail line can be seen in a few triangular plots of land off First Street, and the causeway that was the rail spur's final approach into downtown now serves as a breakwater protecting the boathouses off Meigs Street. Now there's talk of making the pier that supported the tracks into a place for people to walk, fish and look at the bay.

But at least one property owner claims the pier track is privately owned, or at least a crucial section of it is.

With the track built on fill placed on the bay bottom by man, we suspect the state will assert state ownership of the track as submerged lands, adding another wrinkle to the dispute or making the whole thing moot.

That said, some of the boathouse owners just plain don't want the public intruding on their private paradises. Understandable, but we have to ask how much this would really hurt.

How much, for example, does it hurt the Sandusky Yacht Club to have its outer breakwall serve as public waterfront access? We agree with ex Officio Mayor Dan Kaman, who said that that once the novelty wears off, the pier track will be populated by a small but loyal group of regulars, with other occasional visitors.

And we've said this before: the boathouse people might even find they get along with the pier walkers.

A public pier track is an idea worth considering. Don't drop it just because some people are nervous.