Explain the Marina District hub-bub to me.

Jason Werling
Mar 23, 2010

In the words of Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell in The Office, "Explain this to me like I'm an eight-year-old."

I usually try to stay out of the controversial topics with my blogs, unless you consider "snot" controversial, but I love our area, I love our views and I love our access to the waterfront.

I just don't see the Marina District as a bad thing.

I've watched a countless number of sunsets from the Jackson Street Pier, taken plenty of walks with my family in Shoreline Park and taken plenty of pictures of the Cedar Point skyline from Battery Park. The current Battery Park is a decent park with trees, benches and a playground. But I don't remember a time where I have been to that area and saw a line of people waiting for some shade, a place to sit or a turn down the slide.

What I'm trying to say is I like the current Battery Park, but if I still have the same access to the waterfront with the proposed Marina District, I can live without the current grassy area, trees, benches and playground.

If I want to take a stroll through a shady area, I'll use Washington Park, if I want to sit down and look out on the waterfront, I'll still be able to in all of the previously mentioned areas and if I want a playground near the waterfront, there is a better one already next to Shoreline Park.

Better yet, "Explain this to me like I'm a five-year-old."

One thing that bothered me throughout this whole process is that the ice rink was taken out of the proposal. It showed a positive attraction for the community and a draw for out-of-towners. It looks like we may still have the chance to get an ice rink with the recent money being donated for a study. And I would look forward to the various events I would be able to cover for the Register and also take my kids to should it ever become a reality.

Even with the ice rink being dropped, there are two things that stick out to me as being huge positives to the city.

1) A downtown Sandusky hotel. There isn't one and there should be. The tax revenues would be nice, but more important for me is people coming in from out of town to go to Cedar Point, the islands or wherever could enjoy our waterfront during their stay and be more apt to spend money downtown. Meaning more businesses looking to downtown as a positive location.

2) The city building relocating to somewhere more central. I would agree we need a new city building, it's getting old and the police facilities are nothing to write home about. I think they were using a boiler room for physical training at one point. The size of a new facility is up for debate, but the local traffic from city residents down to Market and Columbus rather than Market and Meigs sounds better to me. Both city residents and city workers would give a mini-boom in foot traffic to the downtown area.

Maybe those boarded up windows on so many second and third floors of many downtown buildings would see the light of day for the first time in decades.


Register photo/JASON WERLING 2007 aerial photo of Battery Park, the Sandusky Sailing Club and city building; the site for the proposed Marina District.

Comments

Anonymous

The issue appears to be a case of values. One part of the community is adamantly opposed to trading any public waterfront for development. Another part is looking for something to solve the decline of economic activity in the city and is willing to trade public land for new development. The part that wants the public area left alone, collected 1800 signatures (1180 proved to be valid) on petitions for a referendum to force the development agreement to be validated by the voters. The prospective developer threatened to abandon the project if the voters have a voice. The Commissioners proposed to do an end run to eliminate the delay of a vote. Now, everyone awaits the rest of the story.

Anonymous

I am sort of undecided on this issue, but getting more and more decided the more I read. Something concerns me. I have asked time and time again how this project will bring permanant, well paying, productive jobs to this area. Nobody seems to be able to answer this question. Sure there will be temporary construction jobs, and a couple "service" jobs, but what about real jobs? I look what was promised with the Chesapeake project and what we now have, and wonder why build more empty condos?

I want what is best for Sandusky, but the more I look at it the more I think that more empty Condos that will be owned by people that are just here on the weekends is not the best answer.

If we want real, sustainable, long term employement and future for the area, we need to take stock in a local resources and use them to our advantage. Not building more expensive housing in hopes that a sugardaddy will move in.

reader

Jason, I have to agree with you. Any waterfront development has increased and enhanced the public's access to the water. The walkway around the yacht club breakwall and the soon to be constructed walkway around the Chesapeake building are 2 examples.

And moving city hall into the central business district could be the real spark to bring downtown back to life.

That could have happened like 20 years ago if the Waterfront Watchdogs hadn't killed the Parkvue Project that ultimately ended up off Hull Road in Perkins Township. One wonders how far downtown could have progressed in those 20 years.

So now the city has another chance to move forward. And the same obstructionists are trying to kill current plan.

Don't they know we already voted and approved the project?

Anonymous

The Marina District project could take 8 to 10 years to complete. Commissioner Fuqua asked last evening at the meeting how many young men and women could cycle through as apprentices during that time frame. Training as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, sheet metal workers.....those young people will have a better chance at a decent living with those skills.

An enhanced downtown with the city building close to the Central Business District would create more jobs in food and retail businesses downtown.

No, its not like heavy manufacturing, but those jobs are gone and they're not coming back.

We can't live in the past.

One hope for the future is the job creation associated with green technologies. If we can attract some of the manufacturers supporting the windmill industry there may be some decent wage jobs.

Anonymous

Not knowing how long you have lived in Sandusky-- Hotel at the Keller. Or at the Reiger Or on the vacant site next to Mack Iron (Dusty Study Recommended).
John Bacon states he's community minded, lets approach him to relocate the factory away from the water.(Dusty Shelf Study)

The City Building was downtown at one time. Inadiquate parking and conjestion moved it to the present location. The late Richard Fuller, City Council President at the time the Current City building was buits, said before is death two years ago, moving city Hall back downtown was not wise. As for foot traffic, take a look at how many city office employees already walk or drive downtown for lunch-there is many.

The present City Building was constucted like a tank with expectations of a third floor being added. In addition, there is room at the City Service Complex on Cement Street to relocate some sity offices to make more room at the 222 Meigs Street Facility.

Parks are not ment to be shoulder to shoulder. What would be nice is an improved Battery Park Picnic Area. More grills/benches. Trimmed trees. Larger Play equipment. Fountains/floral gardens. Paid for by money the City receives from Sandusky Bay Development for maintenance of the picnic area and usage of the marina. An improved viable amphitheater rivaling the one along the Cuyag River in Cleveland. 300 seasonal condos, a 150 room hotel, private pools, 25,000 sq. ft. in retail/commercial is counterproductive to the notion of bringing people to downtown. Condos are not a "destination location" Creating contiuous activity will rejuvinante downtown not condos

Anonymous

was the presentation on Wind Turbine Manufacturing Facility. Reading between the lines, Huron will get this facility. I for one am disappointed ti the City not pushing to haver this facility built in Sandusky creating double income tax revenue. We've lost thousands of living wage jobs in this community. We blew an opportunity to make a change

Sandusky Resident

I'm with Jason on this!

mbedee

Where did the Ice Arena go? That is a good question and I am sure CRG has overlooked that issue. The arena moved out of the project because CRG said it blocked too many views of the waterfront. The developer realized that it did make the site really dense and took it out of the project. Now, there are 2 ways of looking at this.
1. The positive side: The developer showed once again that he is willing to work to make the project successful and something everyone will want.
2. The negative side: THis I would call the CRG side of things. The project is no longer $160 million, why? Well, see the positive side explanation. You can't have your cake and eat it too. CRG says that views are being blocked, so something has to give. It happened to be the Arena.

I think the arena is key to the whole downtown revitalization. Soccer year round and also an ice arena for hockey and skating.

Never will you be able to make everyone happy. So the commission has to make the majority happy and that is by doing what they voted for last year to do...MOVE FORWARD WITH THE MARINA DISTRICT PROJECT. The commissioners need to see this through for Sandusky's and the area's future.