Bringing people, business to town

Commissioner candidates candid about business.
Andy Ouriel
Oct 22, 2013


Answering the question, “How do you attract more residents and businesses into Sandusky?” is about as complex as solving the meaning of life.

But seven city commission candidates vying for three open seats this November each offered up a possible solution.

Nobody’s denying Sandusky’s ability to attract visitors, being a must-visit tourist destination.

But the city — home to 25,800 — is losing residents.

Sandusky suffered a 7 percent population drop in the 10-year period from 2000-2010, according to the U.S. Census.

The 2000 Census counted 27,800 residents in the city. By 2010, that number dropped by 3,000.    Several companies throughout this Rust Belt community have either closed up or severely cut down on staffing.

At a recent Register campaign debate at Sandusky High School, a student asked how candidates could draw more people and businesses into the area.

Another city commission candidat debate will be broadcast live from the State Theatre this Thursday at 7 p.m.

Here are the responses:

• “I believe in a concept called anchor institutions. In your community, you have big institutions. Firelands hospital is one, Kalahari is certainly one, Cedar Point is certainly one. You partner with them. You find ways, as they grow, for you to grow. You grow from within. It’s so difficult to attract new people in this community. We need to retain and expand the ones you have here.” — Dick Brady

• “In order to attract people to Sandusky, we have to do as a government what governments are supposed to do. We need to work with our streets, water, fire, police, neighborhoods and parks and recreation departments. Let’s make this a community where people are knocking on our doors to come in. The way to do that is to invest in yourself.” — Diedre Cole, city commissioner

• “People travel from Toledo and Sandusky just to go to Cleveland for an expo. Make your own city exciting. You invite people to teen expos, to teen pageants, to teen garage sales. You become own entrepreneurs. You make this place exciting.” — Patricia Ferguson

• “We’re knocking down old factory buildings and creating a canvas for a nice city. We have to keep cleaning up the neighborhoods.” — John Hamilton, ex officio mayor

• “Businesses move where people are. It’s not the other way around. What we need is a vision for our community that draws people. It’s walkable, we have great historic buildings that are inexpensive and great to remodel or fix up. We have waterfront assets and a lot of great amenities." — Dennis Murray Jr.

• “We have to present an image to people that we are a forwardthinking community and a welcoming community. We seek the input from all of our community members. We want to see people succeed, and we want businesses to be successful.” — Scott Schell

• “When people are looking for communities to move into, they look for strong school systems and a strong local government. Those are two things we can work on that bring attention to our beautiful community. We are in a position that we need a government that works for the people.” — Naomi Twine


google me

Funny Dick talks about growing Firelands Hospital as he is in the process of sueing them for not using his business.


Re: "Rust Belt community"

Why do local writers persist in perpetuating this pejorative?

In the spirit of the article, who in the h*ll would want to relocate their family or business to a "Rust Belt community"?

I'd be willing to bet that many of the youth today have little idea of the connotation of the term. Yet, here you are helping to educate them.

IMO, some serious journalistic reframing needs to be done.

@ Mr. Westerhold:

Scrub this term from all future articles and excoriate anyone in your employ who uses it in speech or in writing.


Sadly, Brady may have made the best point, even if he is a bit misguided in thinking that people that go to Kalahari will drive into the actual city.

The rest of them blather on and make their answer some lame campaign speech. I am really disappointed to hear so many talk about needing the Government. Trust me, in order to operate a business you want the Government out of your business as much as possible. Murray gave the same politician style answer that he has become known for, stating that we need a vision. No joke, to answer the question how about stating what your vision is. Anyone can run for office and answer a question by just rephrasing it as a statement.

I weep for Sandusky's future.

The Bizness

Mr. Murray and Mr. Schell actually had decent responses. They talk about improving the community in order for the area to look like a good place to locate your community.

I would argue though that Sandusky leadership, and county leadership for that matter should be on the phone all the time talking to CEO's of companies trying to convince them that our area is a great place to open a plant. We have the available work force, the right infrastructure, and the land. I would love to find a way to get a this area to be a tech startup incubator but that relies on the private industry. I think our area is a great place for young people in their 20's and 30's to live, with the lake and islands, and being between Toledo and Cleveland, you couldn't ask for much more.


Re: "I would love to find a way to get a this area to be a tech startup incubator but that relies on the private industry."

A recent article in the WSJ:

"More Businesses Want Workers With Math or Science Degrees"

IMO, if one could aim the Sandusky school system into the direction of a math and/or science center, your dream has possibilities.

The Bizness

I completely agree with you on this one Contango. I have a BS degree myself, and although it wasn't the easiest, I have a lot more options for work than my friends with a BA.

Sandusky, could have a STEM school. they have the resources. Then work with EHove and BG Firelands to really push for science and math degrees there.


Also possible reduced expenditures, 'cause there are lotsa FREE math videos available on the web.

When BF Skinner saw computers, he said that they were the "teaching machines" that he had written and talked about decades before.

The 2000 yr. old Socratic method of teaching is expensive and outa date.

Schools could employ "mentors" and students could essentially progress comfortably at their own pace.

Here's a Korean tutor that makes $4M annually:

Many U.S. teachers complain that they aren't adequately compensated. Here is part of a free mkt. approach.

Start 'em early and help get 'em over this country's collective "math phobia."

AJ Oliver

Back when the Marina Dsitrict project was being pushed hard, the "developer", John Eymann, was asked to provide his resume. City employee (at the time) Scott Schell declared at a Commission meeting that Eymann could provide his resume, ". . if he wants to." Well Eymann did not want to, and as it turned out, had never developed anything.
Unless Mr. Schell apologizes, he will not get my vote.
Actually, Mr. Murray should apologise as well.
At least some Marina District backers went way over the line and made all sorts of threats to people's jobs and livlihoods.
Full Disclosure - I was and am a proud member of Save Our Shoreling Parks.