City marina contract premature

May 28, 2013


My topic this week is the city’s marina contract.

Last year the city paid for a vented cooking hood for the private business operating from the marina. This year, we are building a $14,200 pergola for the business. A free dock has also been given to the dock manager for the season. What the city received from this year’s contract was an additional $200 for utilities and trash pickup to the existing $500 that the business pays for rental of the facility. The $500 rental fee is returned back to the manager for his management fee of the marina.

The one-year contract has been changed to a five-year contract. I think the city was a bit premature with the five-year contract. Maybe, the city should have waited until the marina was making a little more money before granting a five-year lease.

Last year, the dumpsters were overflowing and the trash was out of control. More dumpsters had to be supplied and more pickup days had to be added to keep the trash under control. We hope the marina will do better keeping the lids tight on the containers so birds and windy conditions do not take hold of the trash and blow it all over the marina. It is also important to keep the sidewalks and docks free of bird droppings.

A clean marina with a lot of hospitality goes a long way in bringing boaters into the harbor for repeated business. Dock hands need to be alert and ready to assist a boater when the boater arrives at the docks. A welcome package should be available to each boater telling them where the boater can eat and be entertained. Dock hands wearing bright colored shirts should be visible so boaters know who they can approach for assistance.

Until next week, with seasonal dockage available for the first time this year, let’s hope that the marina has a successful season this year.


The Answer Person

Why don't YOU get down there and extend the welcome? Ya know, people are sick to death of being told what THEY should be doing and EVERYTHING that they ARE DOING is wrong. Grow up.

Good 2 B Me

Right on! Lead by example!


EXCELLENT COMMENT!!!!! Sharon Sharon doesn't matter what happens the SAME PEOPLE are gonna continue to COMPLAIN about things on the waterfront. The SAME people are gonna stand at the podium at the city commissioners meets every time and complain........No one cares about you whinners anymore.......put some of that bad energy into something successful!!!People will start listening!!!!


@ IcantAnswerPerson.

Ah let me count the ways you missed Ms. Johnson's point. Oops that's an every week occurrence.

The Bizness

Sharon, I beleive right now a nice citizen goes out and sweeps the bird droppings off fairly frequently. Also I had never once seen trash out of control down there and I walk/run/bike past fairly frequently. Thirdly, after the crowd I saw down there on Sunday I think your worries are unwarranted and you are drumming up unnecessary drama, but hey that is what you always do.

Go to a different city, and spew your worthless rants there.

Good 2 B Me

Maybe a positive rant would be nice! Debbie Downers are all over our beautiful area. Maybe someone to give props when they are due once in a while, ya know!! I guess that some people like to spew junk instead of trying to pick our area up. We are here because of Cedar Point, the Islands and the Shoreline. Sure there are other reasons, but we all know what brings traffic to Erie County, Ohio. Nothing like hate on the front page for them to read as they plan their trip or arrive in our area.

Sharon, being positive never hurt anyone, honest!

Licorice Schtick

The seasonal Dockside Cafe restaurant has been a great success and is already much loved by its regulars. The operators make the city look good to visitors, too. This project deserves our support.

These scurrilous accusations, glass-half-empty nitpicking and second-guessing are stupid.


I didn't see where Ms. Johnson was blasting the concept of Dock Side Café. What I am reading is her concerns:

1).The TRANSIENT marina should be run like other marinas--as boaters come in they are greeted by a dockhand, assigned a dock and assisted.

2). The marina needs to be clean including each individual dock --a power washer was purchased for dock cleaning--has it disappeared?

3). The contract benefits the concessionaire.

Woody Hayes

Different day, same dog barking the same tune.


Slow down somewhat on the sarcasm, we brought our boat downtown a few times last summer and the one before. We have had lunch a few times by land also... It is great. There is a point about cleaning up the docks.. They were terribly covered in geese droppings and it was on busy Saturdays! That should be sprayed down. I didn't want the family getting back on the boat in their shoes!!! Love the idea of stopping downtown instead of always running to KI for entertainment and eats!


Can us peasants see what's in the contract?


We were there saturday night by boat with friends from out of town. $5 to dock as long as we ate there, $10 if we were going to go downtown. This is a great place to go and show off what my city has to offer....or your right Sharon, I could have went to Cedar Point's Famous Daves, Kelly's Island, Put-In-Bay, or Huron's Brass Pelican. I CHOOSE to stay in Sandusky, warts and all ! Heck, the summer just started, I know I'll be back many more times.


What is going on with the $5 as long as boaters eat there and $10 dock fee if the boaters were going to go downtown? If that is going on, how is that fair for the rest of of the the business owners trying to earn a living? Who authorized him to give discounts on the docks? There is nothing in the contract that says he can do that if that is what is going on.

The Bizness

Its a good deal for dockage either way.

Edwin Ison

It's obvious why Sandusky is in the shape it is in. Why in the world would the city build a marina complex that has zero chance of ever returning a profit to the city?
The marina manager is supplied with free rent, free employees and free restaurant equipment, and he can't even wash the crap off the docks?
He is too busy using the city pressure washer to clean his car and golf cart.
Again, Sandusky gets what it deserves. A downward spiral. Some just refuse to see it.
At least he finally paid up his long delinquent taxes.... thanks.


Spot on Edwin Ison:

That's what happens when government gets involved with business.

The Bizness

First of all I have seen the pressure washer used to wash the docks.

Secondly I have been to the Huron boat basin and not been greeted before.

Thirdly I can almost guarantee that the boat basin will at least break even this year or next.

Lastly, this venture between the city and private industry is the way things should be run. I guess you would rather just let the city run its own restaurant right?


First of all you may have seen the power washer used the first year.

Lastly, there is nothing wrong with an independent running what was originally slated as a "concession stand" now a full force restaurant. The issue, as I'm reading Ms. Johnson's Blog, is the City gave away the farm spending $27,000 to support a private business with a paltry $200 a month return. No wonder some of the other downtown business' are up in arms. Dockside Café is taking some of their business and being subsidized to do so. I'm sure you have noticed most of Dockside Cafe's business is land based vs boater based.

Edwin Ison

First, the city should NOT be involved in the marina business, or any business for that matter.
Second, the city should NOT be subsidizing any business. Especially a tool like that.
Again, Sandusky is in a downward spiral and gets what it deserves.

Scenario: Hi, we sailed here to eat at the Water Street Cafe', how much is the dock fee? I'll tell you what, we'll hook you up with a lower rate if you'll eat here at the city marina.... all fronted by taxes. A kick in the behind to other eateries in the city.


Nail on the head

T. A. Schwanger


The Paper District Marina agreement with the concessionaire and operation of the marina is 100% opposite of the original intent of the marina.

What was to be a transient marina aimed at increasing business downtown with amenities for the overnight/short-term boater (showers and grills) has become 50% seasonal with a ready made restaurant on site.

Reading the City file on the marina project reveals business after business (including downtown restaurants) supporting the Transient Marina concept to facilitate increased business for downtown entrepreneurs


Which is why the city should not be in the marina business - government is not accountable to those who fund it.


No one in their right mind would use that marina anyway. It's completely devoid of security, lacking even a fence, and within five minutes walk of the county's most crime infested neighborhoods. Even the secured marinas have problems with punks throwing rocks at boats.