About 30 new businesses — everything from restaurants to clothing shops — have joined the makeup of downtown over the past few years.
There’s also a growing list of festivals and regular events, including the Sandusky Art Walk, Cruisin’ by the Bay and Ohio Bike Week, the latter drawing a record 160,000 motorcyclists and tourists this past summer.
City commission candidates view downtown as the seed to continue growing interest in Sandusky. At a recent Register political forum at Sandusky High School, a student asked how candidates would improve downtown in hopes of luring businesses and enticing people to visit.
Here are the responses from the seven candidates vying for three open seats on Nov. 5:
• “It’s the government’s responsibility to stay out of the way and we make it easy for private investment, building departments and building officials to accomplish what they need to do.” — Dick Brady
• “We’ve got to support the Sandusky State Theatre and the arts in this community. That is so critical in the community. We need to stay out of the way of business and let them do what they do best.” — Diedre Cole, city commissioner
• “Reinforce survival and safety. I believe the city of Sandusky, because of the high winds and rains that we’ve had within downtown, we should have a disaster center.” — Patricia Ferguson
• “We need to focus on the housing stock. People come to a city first. Once you have residents, they will support businesses that are here. We got some really cool old houses in Sandusky. A lot of it is really affordable and easy to heat and cool.” — Dennis Murray Jr.
• “We need people with ideas to implement them. We’re sitting on revolving loan fund money available for entrepreneurs. It’s up to government to create an environment for these businesses to flourish in.” — John Hamilton, ex officio mayor
• “We need to continue what we are doing. Downtown has experienced a great rebirth, and that’s mostly been through private investment. The city has money it can loan for aspiring or existing businesses. We obviously have to keep that going. We have to do whatever we can to encourage local entrepreneurs and people with ideas.” — Scott Schell
• “I think we should be continuing on the path we are on.” — Naomi Twine