Huron buys waterfront property

$305,000 for former show boat site
Andy Ouriel
Feb 24, 2014
Huron officials set sail on restoring a long-neglected waterfront property many residents and tourists once loved.

During a recent sale, city council authorized spending $305,000 in state funds to acquire the former Show Boat Restaurant property on North Main Street near the North Main Pier.    A few years ago, the property’s former owners first offered this land to Huron for $1 million, which city council rejected.

Former Show Boat Restaurant property costs
$305,000: Price the city of Huron paid to acquire property.
•$50,000: Expense for engineering and initial clean-up costs.
•$1 million: Estimated cost for complete reconstruction of property. Much of the property is fortified underwater.
Source: city of Huron

Council members also just approved expensing up to $50,000 for an engineering study and an initial cleanup — consisting of removing driftwood, trash, debris and general refuse — at the decrepit site.

“The No. 1 priority of city council at this property is to start the process of rehabilitating it,” Huron city manager Andy White said. “The city is in ownership of this parcel, and we are putting together a plan to remedy the situation”

White and others developed an extensive plan to rejuvenate the property, which includes a diver going underwater and assessing structural damage.

A good chunk of the property is fortified and supported underwater, White said.

“The shore wall has failed in several areas, and the diver needs to determine what is causing the failure,” White said. “The northeast winds have steadily beat and pounded into the perimeter wall, and over 30 or 40 years, it gave way, and the supporting ground level was compromised. Once the shore wall fails, water can now penetrate through open earth and carve out openings that could eventually compromise the area and wash out city infrastructure”

A fire, which occurred a few years after the Show Boat Restaurant closed and another business operated from there, also contributed to area damage.

Other than rectifying a public nuisance, city officials want to enhance the property for economic development opportunities.

Once the area’s cleaned and cleared, the property could turn into a park or a commercial entity — or really anything more appealing than the current eyesore.

It’s also in an attractive area, with the revamped North Main Pier and Huron Boat Basin and Amphitheater nearby. A threepronged project to reconstruct Main Street also begins this year.

Plus an improvement at the former restaurant property circles back to Huron’s $9 million master plan — a decade-long blueprint aimed at luring businesses while also persuading people to stay and move into Huron.

The plan also calls for linking several city landmarks, parks and neighborhoods, with an emphasis on highlighting waterfront features.

“The entire objective of the city council was to resolve a generations-long problem at a key entry point of the city and prepare the site to transfer for some sort of development” White said. “The benefit will help improve area properly valuations throughout the whole corridor, complementing some recreational investments we have made”

In total, the clean-up and construction costs could add up to $1 million. If everything happens according to schedule, the property could be ready for development by sometime in spring 2015.

Many Huron residents are excited about the property’s rejuvenation, including Huron resident Jake Claus, who started and owned the Show Boat Restaurant.

“It would be very pleasing to me to see that property revitalized and looking presentable again,” Claus said. “It would be great if another business went in there and just cleaning up the property is fantastic”

Comments

Contango

Govts. have very little business owning potentially valuable commercial real estate.

1. It takes it off the tax rolls.

2. It takes add'l tax money to maintain it.

Therefore it is fiscally draining for local taxpayers.

Informed

No one else is going to buy that piece of property.

Contango

Re: "No one (snip)"

So taxpayers are the buyers of last resort?

A fallacious argument.

Informed

Oh I'm not trying to debate the issue, just pointing out the obvious.

Contango

Re: "obvious,"

Only to spendthrift bureaucrats.

bnjjad

Considering how long this piece of property has sat vacant and has how much it has deteriorated at this point them buying it to try and turn it around seems like the only way to get it done. Nobody was interested in this property and it has become a safety issue.

I usually agree with them buying property, but this is one of those that does not fall in that realm.

Contango

Re: "it has become a safety issue."

Does Huron have an active law director?

Cowboy

Would be a perfect site for a Joe's Crab Shack!

Retiree

I would not given $3.00 for that property. You people have big ideas but quit spending or tax dollars foolishly

bnjjad

It will at least make it more aesthetically appealing to any future buyers or if it becomes part of the park/pier area then even better for Huron. That waterfront is part of their center piece and this is a very sore looking area that doesn't help.

It should become an expanded parking area for Pier guests.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Funny how Andy cannot afford to keep the city flags lit and maintained properly but spends our money to buy this property. He actually told a veteran that the city does not have the funds to keep the lights on the flags.

Darwin's choice

He's a masshole, what do you expect from poindexter?
A tour of duty would do wonders for him....

red white and blue

^^^^ what Darwin said ^5

Taxpayer2800

Perhaps suing the Army Corp of Engineers for the damage they did to the understructure many years ago while dredging the channel which caused the eventual collapse of the seawall would be a better way to pay for the repairs to this property. I kinda have first hand knowledge of this. Oh and then tell me about the park that was supposed to be built in the disposal site we spend a ton on. Its kind of hard to get excited about Huron spending money on what will be a huge cost to stabilize.

worddrow811

Huron is not spending the money, andy white and city council are spending it for their glorified egos and wasted notion of bringing the tourists to the site. maybe someone can set up a hot dog cart for them on the property while they watch the boats go past and andy ouriel can write about it.

Fibber Mcgee

Wait a minute, after you spend the $$$$$, you now are going to send a diver underwater to assess the structural damage? Shouldn't this have been done prior to wasting taxpayers money? You guys are great!

DEATHnTAXES

Looks to me Huron bought this property not only to expand access along the lake, but also to protect it's investment in improvements already made.

Take a look Sandusky City Commission. while you are clamoring over selling waterfront access, cities like Huron and Vermilion are buying into the idea of quality of life issues for residents and visitors desiring to enjoy the lake and bay front.

Julie R.

One would think common sense alone would have said to have the structural damage assessed before shelling out $305K .... but hey, it's only taxpayer monies. There's always more where that came from.

That said, wonder why there are no comments allowed on the story about the Huron realtor from Lighthouse Real Estate, LLC who won an award for sales in excess of $5 million or the other story about Kalahari's lawsuit against a Wisconsin builder for shoddy workmanship.