Residents seek new uses for Pavilion

Several Sandusky residents and city advocates united around preserving and reinvigorating a deteriorated, neglected waterfront property.
Andy Ouriel
Jul 17, 2013

Almost 40 community members gathered Tuesday inside Sandusky High School, brainstorming ways to enhance the Sandusky Bay Pavilion on East Water Street.   

Years of neglect at the pavilion, sandwiched between the Sandusky Yacht Club and Battery Park Marina, has led to several issues, including a contaminated wave pool, a warped roof and various health hazards. Commissioners voted to spend $10,000 in April so crews could restore the pavilion’s bathrooms.     

The Wightman Wieber foundation kicked in an additional $10,000 for the recently completed project. Still, city officials hesitate to schedule more upgrades when a long-term improvement plan doesn’t exist. That said, commissioners voted in May to initiate talks with anyone interested in improving the pavilion.   

To see a gallery from the 2012 Kidsfest click HERE

Among those responding to the city’s call were Bowling Green State University representatives. About two months ago, city officials and college representatives toured the facility, labeling the six acres an ideal spot for people to research algal blooms in Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie.    Since then, no other major public discussions about the pavilion occurred — until Tuesday.       

Various city stakeholders passionately shared their opinions on the property. Strong emotions about the pavilion reverberated strongly, in large part because of its popularity. Up to 15 events, many hosted by the Maritime Museum of Sandusky, occur there each year, attracting tens of thousands of people.    Almost all in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting agreed to keep the pavilion a public venue, and they shunned any idea of fully selling it to a private developer.   

• BGSU Firelands Dean Bill Balzer: Our faculty was very struck by the possibilities that could happen at the Sandusky Bay Pavilion. One idea might be a science research station, where there would be interactive science exhibits for students in the community to come by and (see or perform) hands-on science experiments. Another idea might be a research opportunity to study the lake or insects that our undergraduate or graduate students from both campuses would be involved in. Our vision is that we can create some opportunities down there.   

• Maritime Museum of Sandusky board of trustees president Dave Blevins: We want to be a partner in any efforts with this. We would love to see a partnership with all of the foundations to put forth the money to rehab the facility. We don’t want to see it developed by private enterprise. Fixing the roof is warranted. Removing the pool is warranted. It’s a liability, and it’s a danger to citizens   walking around it.   

• Wightman Wieber Foundation representative Gene Kidwell: We have demonstrated that the property should remain a public property by us supporting projects there to improve it. We would like to be a part of it moving forward as a public access facility to hold events there for the entire area. But before we can commit to additional funding or approach other foundations to partner with us, we need to have a plan.   

• Sandusky Yacht Club commodore Mike Claar: The yacht club would love to not have an eyesore right next to us. We try to be a good partner and good neighbor to the city by keeping our property looking good. If our pool looked like the (pavilion’s) pool, we would probably be getting a lot of phone calls.    q#City resident Arnold “Skip” Oliver: I just hope we are united in wanting this to be a public recreational facility.    

• City resident Jeff Krabill: That piece of land has sat essentially vacant for quite some time, and that is unfortunate that it languishes in its current state. I want something more than what is there now.   

• City resident Mike Zuilhof: That is a spectacular piece of property. It has a view few other properties have. I want to see something happen there. Any attempt to privatize this property will divide the community. Let’s get together on something we can all get behind.   

• City resident Elizabeth Guss: This park should be left public. It has a beautiful view. It’s public land, and that is how it should stay.    q#City resident Sharon Johnson: The pool has to be taken out. It’s a liability the way it sits right now. Someone could break into the park and get into that pool. The park should not be privatized and remain open to the public. That land belongs to the taxpayers.

Comments

The Bizness

Sell the property! Let someone build a hotel there.

fanatic

How many years is this going to take? It's like beating a dead horse! There are specific plans for the property that were created by a consultant that the city paid $20,000 for several years ago! What happened to them and why do they refuse to look at them????? A complete study was done of the entire park system. How quickly they forget, but they sure like to keep spending money!

T. A. Schwanger

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@fanatic

You are exactly correct. The City of Sandusky paid for a complete Parks and Recreation Master Plan Upgrade for city parks not many years ago. Plans for the former Surf's Up Wave Action Pool had the pool transformed into an amphitheater.

Keep in mind the Paper District Marina has an amphitheater for a reason--takes an amphitheater at the Sandusky Bay Pavilion out of the equation for future use.

Also keep in mind Shoreline Park, and eventually the concession stand, was developed as a diversion during times when selling City Hall and privately developing Battery Park and Sandusky Bay Pavilion were at the top of City government's to do list.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I would love to see a convention center there. Even if it was city-owned. It would be a draw downtown and could support ancillary businesses that already exist as well as hopefully foster new ones to come in. Especially a hotel. I would love a hotel downtown.

Every year I go to Madison, WI for a retailer/industry conference and I am amazed at the facility they have on Lake Monona which is looks about the same size as Sandusky Bay. Check out the facility they have:

http://mononaterrace.com/

Restless1

Three acres and you want a convention center??

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

It doesn't have to be as large as the example provided but a place that follows the same spirit. Even if not on that site precisely there is still a lot of waterfront that could use a beautiful, income-generating, people-attracting place like that.

totallyamazed

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Joe's Crab Shack
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pavedparadise

At Pier 681 (former Damons) the food and service is horrible.

YoMamma

Expand a convention center to battery park. You have prime property sitting idle. We need another green space for the city to maintain like we need more rental property!

akmed

Sell it to the highest bidder.use the money for upgrades to city hall. And yes for those people that want access soo bad pull out your checkbook.

Darkhorse

A conventions center does not belong on the waterfront taking up the beautiful waterfront. If you want a hotel and convention center, build it somewhere else like Sandusky Cabinets, we will even give you the land. This kind of development can be built anywhere.

trundle19

What about utilizing this space as a multi use facility for the public, plus generate business and revenue? We could install seating similar to football stadiums in the pool,add tables and chairs around the deck, install a stage setup complete with lighting and sound system. Add in a retractable canopy awning over the stage for performers.Make these systems somewhat portable so they could be stored in the winter. We could lease this facility to businesses who would like to hold meetings/social gatherings. We could also lease to entertainment promotion businesses for concerts. A local restaurant or caterer could provide food and beverage plus many other local residents could be employed there. The facility could then be utilized for free when available, by our local schools and artists(concerts,plays, July 4th fireworks, Firelands Symphony, teenage battle of the bands) for their performances . We could add a splash pad and more picnic shelters for use during the day by the public for a small fee (reduced for Sandusky residents.There is plenty of parking in this area, but add more shade. This would be a perfect location for car shows and bike week, so downtown will not be blocked but still gain residual business from these events. This a beautiful location, should be family friendly ,clean, well maintained and enjoyed by all, plus utilizing this as an developmental asset to Sandusky.

T. A. Schwanger

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trundle19

Well said.

The City of Sandusky paid for a complete Parks and Recreation Master Plan Upgrade for city parks not many years ago. Plans for the former Surf's Up Wave Action Pool had the pool transformed into an amphitheater.

Keep in mind the Paper District Marina has an amphitheater for a reason--takes an amphitheater at the Sandusky Bay Pavilion out of the equation for future use.

Also keep in mind Shoreline Park, and eventually the concession stand, was developed as a diversion during times when selling City Hall and privately developing Battery Park and Sandusky Bay Pavilion were at the top of City government's to do list.

Three years ago, our organization conducted a survey of individuals as they exited the Sandusky Bay Pavilion after attending the Taste of Ohio Wine Fest. All respondents noted the exceptional aesthetic appeal of the venue. All respondents shared concerns regarding the lack of and conditions of restroom facilities--they were upgraded this spring.

Tim Schwanger
Pres; Save Our Shoreline Parks

Nemesis

The paper district marina is also several blocks further from the prime thug breeding grounds than the Pavilion. While the west side isn't posh, the majority of the shootings, etc. tend to be east of downtown. Maybe that had something to do with it, since antisocial behavior at Surf's Up drove down usage to where it wasn't sustainable.