Proposal rocks the boat

Opinions mixed on idea of adding security at Paper District Marina. What do you think?
Andy Ouriel
Dec 19, 2013


Sandusky officials made a stern request to step up security at the city’s public marina.

A budget proposal shows recreational officials requesting about $3,000 to install two gates on docks at the Paper District Marina, located on West Shoreline Drive.

The decision awaits approval from city commissioners, who vote on a final 2014 budget in March. It’s unclear when a vote would occur.

Presently, there’s no barrier in place preventing people from trespassing or vandalizing boats at the marina.

A decision to increase security results from the marina adding more seasonal, or long-term, dockage, in 2013. About half of the 64 docks are for seasonal dockage. The rest are transient, or short-term, dockage.

It’s assumed seasonal boaters would either receive a key or passcode to go through the gate, if accepted by a majority of commissioners.

“The idea of these gates is not to deter first-time or transient boaters away from the marina or downtown area,” Sandusky recreation division supervisor Victoria Kurt said. “It is for the privacy of seasonal boaters as well as overnight transit boaters”

Kurt added she’s fielded numerous calls from people concerned about a lack of security at the marina.

One local resident, however, voiced concerns about added security measures.

“There have been no reported incidents of vandalism or boats being broken into,” said Tim Schwanger, a city resident advocating for shoreline preservation and waterfront features.

Schwanger also questioned the ethics of city officials related to Paper District Marina’s evolution.

Public funds completely paid for the marina’s $3 million price tag.

In early 2010, officials submitted a grant application seeking state funds to finance the marina’s inception.

The application indicated city officials would maintain all slips as transient dockage.

In 2010, city officials said the state agency providing public funds for marinas looks favorably at projects requesting transient dockage.

But city officials began offering seasonal dockage earlier this year as a way to reverse red-ink finances. The marina generated a collective deficit of $71,000 in 2011 and 2012.

“Curiosity dictates the questions of what entity is pushing the idea of gates on the docks, what visual impact the gates will have on first-time boaters using the facility and whether the decision makers realize the original intent of the Paper District Marina?” Schwanger said.

At a glance
• Sandusky recreation officials want to spent about $3,000 on two security gates at the Paper District Marina.
• The need for added security results from attracting more seasonal, or long-term, boaters, officials said.
• One waterfront advocate said gates infringe on public use and discourage first-time marina users from coming back.



This is total B.S.!!! It is supposed to be open to the public, period!! If you don't want your boat there, go to a 'private' marina. If a person doesn't have a boat or pay for a dock, does that mean they are excluded from the waterfront to enjoy???

Stop It



Just another case of boaters not wanting common folks on their public docks.Just like Batt.Park and the Sailing Club,fence the common scum out.

Stop It

Those facilities are private. This is public and therefore need to be accessed by the public. If they are afraid to leave their boat there then use one of the private locations. Besides, isn't there a dockmaster?


Not saying I agree with the gates. Most of the time it is the scum causing the problems. Should the city be proactive or reactive? Whether it is seasonal or transient, how much time does it take to cut through a canvas cover to get into a boat?

The Bizness

Mr. Shwanger, let me try to figure out your thought process. You don't want the city to sell the pavilion property because you want it to remain public property. However, when the city spends money to open up an area and make it useful to the residents of the city you get mad. What in the world do you want? What is your goal? Would you like just a grassy field next to the water?

I don't see a problem putting a gate on the seasonal dock, and the other dock for transient being open. Although this is public you need to treat it like a business and if the people paying for dockage want a gate then give it to them. Heck, one years worth of docking there pretty much covers the cost.

T. A. Schwanger


Thank you for the question Biz. Perhaps you are misunderstanding the concern here.

A suggestion was made mirroring your idea of gating one dock and it was rejected.

The "transient" Paper District Marina concept was supported by NUMEROUS local groups, businesses and individuals out of a perceived view the City lacked sufficient dockage for boaters wanting to dock for a few hours, for the day, or for a few days stay. Our group was one of the groups documenting our support (on file in the Community Development File) and we remain in support--as a transient marina.

The issue is two pronged.

Marina expenses are running ahead of revenue because the City continues to spend money on items such as a pergola and roof vents benefiting the concessionaire running the Dockside Cafe' while the contract is "a wash"--$500 a month rent from the concessionaire to the City--the City in turn gives the $500 a month back to the concessionaire. Additional City money will be spent in 2014 for additional concessionaire seating and permeable pavement under the pergola.

The concerns with gates are: There have been times when the marina and concession have been closed due to inclement weather. With gates installed, the marina becomes useless during these times.

I personally contacted the Huron Boat Basis having an identical set up as Sandusky---no gates--some minor problems resolved by cameras connected directly to the police station. Their response to gates--"this (Huron) is a public marina paid for by the public.
Likewise, the PD Marina was built with Clean Ohio Revitalization Funds, Chesapeake TIF Funds and Sandusky Capital Improvement Funds.

The Bizness

Thanks for the response. I could care less about the gate, wwhether they install it or not I will use the property.

The pergola looks great and added to the beauty of the area. You and I are free to go sit down there whether or not Dockside Cafe is open. You are simply angry someone actually made a decent deal and is making money, while attracting people to a public park.

It is quite obvious you and Sharon Johnson do not want Sandusky to change. You want everything to stay the same, and think that new growth and change is not good.

T. A. Schwanger



While I honor your opinion, I couldn't disagree more.

If the City is too 'run the marina as a business' as you suggest, then the City should be making money off the marina not continually sinking money into it.

When a group of us visited Louisville Kentucky, including outgoing Commissioner Cole, we learned the Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation operates portions of their waterfront park as a business. Two restaurants built on the property--Joe's Crab Shack and Tumbleweed (away from the waterfront). Both restaurants not only pay a monthly rental fee, they also pay a percentage of their restaurant sales to LWDC. If the restaurants close, LWDC becomes owners of the building and in turn can lease to other entities.

If you would like to see how a public area along a waterfront should be run, click this
Under the "Ringing the Belle" icon click on "click here for park map". You'll be astonished.

Oh, and good luck taking the wife and kids, sandwiches, chips and drinks and spending lunch under the pergola you paid for--the sign says "OUTSIDE FOOD AND DRINK PROHIBITED".

The Bizness

Sure, the city messed up when it came to their comtract. That is no fault to the business owner. As for that sign, well I am going to discuss that with the operator next summer, as I dont remember seeing it. Only alcohol related signage, but you cant beat a Dockside Deluxe and a beer from them.

Also, I can picnic anywhere on that amphitheater I want.

Ms. Cole was a joke and deserves to go.

We have discussed your love of major metropolitan waterfronts before, and while I enjoy your dreams, we just dont have the shoreline those cities have.

T. A. Schwanger


We finally agree. The contract is no fault of the concessionaire.

What probably should have happened is the marina operation and concession operation should have been separate with the City hiring dockhands under the supervision (if it's needed) of the Recreation Department or Community Development. The City pays the wages of the dockhands currently. This would leave a separate contract for Dockside with the concessionaire paying monthly rent and a percentage of sales.

The Bizness

I have been to those parks you always talk about and cream yourself over, and to put that into place in Sandusky would involve closing Marinas, Business, Condos, and ODNR, then demoing them. Then building massive new park system! The city can't even support its current finances, and you want to destroy a tax base for more parks. It is ridiculous, and as I said before you are uncomfortable with change and will never be happy with progress. You, Sharon, and Ms, Cole are the type of people holding this city back.

T. A. Schwanger


Once again I honor your opinion, but couldn't disagree more.

If you indeed were paying attention to the discussions we've had in previous SR article blog/comment sections, you recognize I and others are not against progress such as the Chesapeake Lofts, APEX property, Sandusky Cabinets property, etc. In fact a member of our group was on the pre-Chesapeake Lofts committee.

Nor are we advocating for new parks. We simply expect the City to take care of, improve and enhance the existing areas reserved for the enjoyment, of not only residents, but also visitors which fits your statement of " we just don't have the shoreline those cities have". Sandusky has 22 miles to be exact--90% of which is privately owned.

Pointing you, and other anti-public access entities, in the direction of the Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation is not meant to say we should bulldoze the waterfront for a long continuous park. It's meant to say we need to take care of what we have while giving examples of what other communities have done regardless of the size of the community.

If funding is a concern, I direct you to other online articles we have bantered back and forth on with links to funding opportunities the City can tap into- they only need to apply.

The Bizness

Saying I am anti-public is hilarious, I love Sanduskys waterfront, and I honestly would love to see the Pavilion property have the wave pool bulldozed to have a more useful property. Also I am one of the biggest environmental activists on this forum. I have been for the boat basin and amphitheater since I heard about it, and I think what the city is doing there is great other than the contract with Dockside Cafe.

My statement that you quoted was meant to say that Cities like Louisville and Cincinnati had the property available because they built on old industrial zones. As you stated 90% is privately owned which means we can't look to Cincinnati and Louisville as examples.

You also claim to to be pro the Lofts but in bast discussions on here you have clearly not been pro that development. The City and developers will never make you happy.

I also agree with you that the city should apply for funding sources, they could also partner with private organizations.

T. A. Schwanger


Now let's not put words in my mouth. If I didn't know better I'd say you are trying to play the discredit game.

I've stated quite frequently the Chesapeake Lofts is a great reuse of the building. Comments I made in the past pertained to the Chesapeake Lofts Project not living up to it's promised end result.

From November 2013 in response to you:::

T. A. Schwanger Thurs, 10/24/2013 - 12:00am @ Answer Person, The Bizness

""Without specific examples, we are not able to respond to specific contentions "watchdogs" are getting in the way of private development.
Positive things are happening in downtown Sandusky via PRIVATE INVESTMENT. From the Chesapeake Lofts to upscale restaurants and clothing stores to the Community Hope Foundation's reuse project at the Reiger Lofts"".

From the Chesapeake Lofts and the City's webpage, you will note the project was advertised as "191 OWNER occupied residents'" To date, there are 21 year round residents with the rest being empty, seasonal or rented by the day, week, month, etc. This equates to significantly less income tax than anticipated. Nor have the anticipated jobs associated with the project materialized.

Again, my example of Cinnci, Louisville and Windsor to the north are used as examples of waterfront development done right--a mix of public access/recreation and business/commercial in most instances, commercial, retail and residential are built across the street.

Need more case studies? Don's hesitate to click.

The Bizness

As I have stated before, you have the ability to walk from Shelby St. boat lauch all the way to battery park and access the water almost the entire way. Along the shore you have a park with water access, private shopping dock, a marina, a public park, and marina, a residemtial property with water access on all three sides, another marina with business offices, more residential with access to the water, a yacht club with breakwalls the public can walk on, a crappy decrepit park, and another marina that the public can access the waters around. Sounds like a good mix to me and seems like we need to improve our current parks, and not be trying to buy more property or rebuild.

T. A. Schwanger



We just wasted 1900 plus words on saying the same thing except for one item. Don't have to read too far between the lines or research too far back into Bloggville history to find you are a proponent of selling the Sandusky Bay Pavilion (the crappy park you refer to) while our group advocates protecting and enhancing the waterfront parks we currently have. Your last sentence- ""a good mix to me and seems like we need to improve our current parks, and not be trying to buy more property or rebuild"" seems contradictory.

As far as your map of the waterfront, "more residential with access to the water" (View Point Apartments?), you may be trespassing.

As for the Yacht Club breakwalls, be advised our group travelled to Columbus at the time of the breakwall construction to lobby the State of Ohio for a "special condition clause" for public access as the Yacht Club argued against the "common people" being able to be that close to their boats.

As for "partnering" with non-profits, etc--the City has done that, with some arm twisting. $10,000 was given by the Wightman Wieber Foundation/Kids Fest this year for Sandusky Bay Pavilion improvements. In 2013, the City missed out on several state grant opportunities due to a lack of applying.

Stop It

Yeah, Biz...'cause the chainlink fence really adds to the beauty of the view.

AJ Oliver

Gated docks do not work very well. I've seen really heavy duty razor wire type security at some marinas (Cedar Island YC) - and the bad guys just come in by water. Security cameras would likely be better.
It's gratifying to know that Tim S. and Save Our Shoreline Parks stay on top of these issues.


If I dock my boat there the gates will provide some modicum of security. I have a right to have my boat protected. If there's no security, I'm not docking there.