Collected from Contributors and Letters to the Editor in Port Clinton news.
Letter Received January 25, 2016
We residents, thanks to Cord activity, have a big responsibility to get it right. Whether or not one agrees with Cord’s goals it brings the voting majority citizen rules process back into place with this very important city decision. I know we have council members but this should not be decided by a very few. The decision has far reaching long-term consequences. Do we the citizens of Port Clinton get it together and build an aquarium, community center, museum whatever we think will not only support or just make good economic since for us as a whole as a community. We may have to do it by fund raising, grants, maybe even possible levys to keep it maintained and operational. Or, do we let a private for-profit company Washington Properties/Harbor Front LLC start out with controlling up to the best 2 acre view in the city not know what it will get us or cost us. There is so much we have to consider as a city. We may argue about how to do it but we all love this city. We can do this. We must weed out Why John Schafner is pushing for us to let Washington Properties on our public land. John moved his company out of Port Clinton city limits time ago. What do the citizens at large really know about Washington’s ability to pay, and sustain over years. Will we really get “500 jobs” as “The Beacon” claims. Is Washington Properties hoping for eminent domain or other avenues for acquiring property. It is my understanding that we can not get a lot of companies here because the lack of residency requirements. A councilperson says we have about 6000 year around residents. Not a big market to tap into considering most companies want about 20,000 year around residents. Knowledge before a vote is empowering.
Port Clinton Wants to Open the Door
Old enough to remember the days when door-to-door salesmen plied their trade on neighborhood streets, going house to house selling things like encyclopedias, soap, and brushes? They were about as welcome at the door as the dinnertime telemarketer is today. At Tuesdays Port Clinton City Council meeting, council members reaffirmed their support for the Mike Rose development plan by voting 5-1 to put the question to a vote in March. The olden days of door-to-door salesman came to mind again after that meeting. The foot in the door is the advantage you never want to give to the slick salesman, or the property developer. The city council repeats over and over that the vote would only “open the door” to future consideration of development projects. “If passed, any number of developments could pop up in a portion of Water Works Park. Potential additions include a boardwalk, transient dockage, an amphitheater, playground, walking trails or a beach.” If Port Clinton only had these public amenities! We can have these public amenities without giving our land to a private developer!
Council simply wants to “open the door”, they say that there will be future opportunities to pass judgment on the proposed development. You can thank Issue-6 for that stop-checker! The city council wants nothing more or less than what any self-respecting door-to-door salesman would want and there is nothing more that a developer adores than a door opened, even a crack, so they may insert their size 13 shoe.
This is Foot-In-The-Door legislation.
Jerry Jonke, Chairman
Citizens Organized for Responsible Development.
Letter received 12/22/15
The heading and content of the News Herald’s Dec. 12 article, “Picturesque setting…strong lure to region”, is particularly ironic in light of the recent controversies on the future of Waterworks Park. Tourism in 2013 generated nearly $2 billion for Ottawa and Erie counties, with the scenic lakefront a major part of what draws those tourists and dollars, yet unlike more progressive communities elsewhere around the Great Lakes, some in Port Clinton still propose to wall off a portion of Port Clinton’s lake and river front with new construction. Locally within the past year, Vermilion and Marblehead have both contributed substantial sums toward preserving and enhancing their open waterfronts, recognizing that their aesthetic, financial, and quality-of-life benefits far outlast any limited gains from the types of development that have already marred coastlines in so much of the U.S. Even a large city like Chicago, which had the foresight to preserve the central portion of its lakefront from development a century ago, now considers its open lakefront a crown jewel among its attractions to residents and tourists. Port Clinton’s main street includes numerous examples of historically and architecturally significant buildings, many of which still languish in varying states of deterioration and disrepair. Focus redevelopment efforts on the considerable assets Port Clinton already has – quit talking about demolishing a cornerstone building on Madison, focus more efforts on unutilized treasures such as the old city hall, preserve the city’s unique park and waterfront – and Port Clinton will have a much brighter future.
Jeff Brown (Port Clinton was my hometown)
THE RIGHT TO VOTE
Voting is important, get out the vote, make it easy to vote, absentee, early, I want your vote, vote for me, I got more votes, I won the vote, the voters put me in office on and on and we hear it from candidates, office holders, all parties, everyone.
Our women citizens didn’t have a vote, marched, suffered to get the vote. Our citizens of color were beaten, attacked by dogs and killed because they wanted to vote. Generations of brave military heroes sacrificed, suffered and fought and died so those wanting a vote could have it and they protect that right, here and all over the world. Voting is sacred no matter what the issue is up or who is running. It’s the wanting, having, exercising a vote that’s the priority and issue here.
Now some office holders and supporters want us to exercise our right to vote November 4. They want us to vote no on an issue that, of all things, gives you the right to vote. You read correctly, an elected official of all people telling you to vote to deny yourself a vote, and by doing so deprive your follow citizens, friends, neighbors, co-workers their right to have a vote too! The value of your vote is now worthless to them, they don’t want them, so you shouldn’t have a vote. These ingrates want you to do the exact opposite of what it is that makes this a great nation, betray that sacred trust, that honor and priviledge bestowed on you by others, and that obligation and responsibility to pass it on to all. This coming from elected office holders, that’s insane and appalling and its an attack on our democracy.
Its said you get the government you deserve and we deserve better, a higher standard must be met. Office holders should always be embracing a vote, encouraging any vote, be proud to present proposals to its citizens for a vote, wanting their citizens to not have a vote indicates there is something seriously wrong, and it needs to be corrected before its too late.
Vote yes on Issue 6 seize your opportunity to vote, defend it, cherish it and exercise it proudly and always.
People Deserve the Right to Vote
The ordinance on the ballot, Issue 6, is very simple to understand: an affirmative vote of the city electorate at a general election to sell, lease or otherwise transfer ownership of city park lands.
Our city has a very valuable waterfront property on Lake Erie and the people deserve the right to say what happens to the parks. It is our right as citizens of these United States. It is our right as citizens of Port Clinton.
Why do they want to take away our rights?
I am not a member of any group concerning this issue, but it does concern me when our rights are to be taken away.
Issue 6 has nothing to do with development, but it does concern our rright to vote. Please consider your rights and the accountability of our government when you vote.
A submission from an editorial cartoonist.
“HOPE AND CHAINS”
Veterans Park and Issue 6
To the residents of Port Clinton,
October 23, 2014
I would like to say to Roger Smith, your letter in the Sandusky Register (10-6-14) was the best ever, you told it like it was, and I remember the day very well.
It was early one morning in 1998 when our administration had heavy equipment moved in on the north end of the Veterans Park and with only a few knowing about it began removing the top soil as the first step into making a parking lot for our business people.
Someone at the American Legion called the VFW and after a long hard fight they saved the Veterans Park from being a parking lot.
So you see, citizens, our administrations trying to steal our parks is nothing new.
In 1998 we had the VFW save the Veterans Park for us, now we have the CORD trying to save all our parks for us, but we must help them by voting yes on Issue 6.
I believe our administration have been planning on taking over our parks and waterfront property since 1998 when the VFW stopped (what a lot of us WWII Veterans called) their sneak attack on our fallen heroes.
In the mayor’s words of wisdom (The Beacon 10-9-14) he said “all people should have the right to vote”. But with his next breath he asked us to vote no on Issue 6. Could the mayor be talking out of both sides of his mouth? A no vote on Issue 6 would “stop” us from having the right to vote and would give our administration the power to do whatever they like to with all our parks and waterfront property.
A yes vote will give us the right to vote on what is done to our parks and waterfront property. If you do not want to see wall to wall condos from Jefferson St. to Maple St. you must vote yes on Issue 6.
Veterans be heard,
Bob Walls, Sr.
To the residents of Port Clinton,
October 19, 2014
YES on issue 6 is a vote for the people, by the people
It is with solid clarity that I write this letter suggesting that issue 6 is the only positive move forward for the citizens of Port Clinton. It is not an attack on the City as our Mayor suggested at candidate’s night. I doubt that his insinuating that our city will not be refurbished if this issue passes is the truth, unless he and council choose it to be so. The developer da jour has now added restoration of the old city hall into the downtown mix with a very clear threat: no waterfront development-no downtown restoration.
Is a developer that uses such strong-arm tactics worthy of our trust? If Mr. Rose were a developer of parks, he would understand that the value of his investments downtown would go up if Port Clinton invests in Water Works Park. We are all drawn here by the Great Lake Erie just as our founders were 200 years ago-and will be for the next 200 years. It is the wide-open spaces and to gazing upon an uninterrupted horizon that settle/level our minds and souls.
As the mayor stated: “we will be able to continue to upgrade our community through grant monies and funds raised. We will be able to transcend our city into the beautiful commerce that has been planned. With continued support by the people we will survive both strategically and economically.” Issue 6 gives the citizens the right to vote on the parklands that belong to the people. It instills the power to the majority of the people instead of a select few making such important decisions, as to sell or lease our land. Issue 6 supports your choice and that of your children’s children.
I endorse voting yes on issue 6. It is a vote for the people, by the people.
To the residents of Port Clinton,
October 8, 2014
LEST WE NOT FORGET – VETERANS PARK!
There is a battle taking place and it’s not pretty. It has become ugly because in the process, folks who are usually considered reasonable are showing their true colors as political operators. It wouldn’t be a big issue except for one park in particular: Water Works Park. City Hall has staked its reputation on this one deal and so have the local influencers who think first of keeping developers happy and rely on public amnesia so they can do it all again further down the road.
I don’t suffer from amnesia – I remember Veterans Park. Veteran’s Park pays tribute to the men and women of the US Military and it wasn’t that long ago, 1998, that the Downtown Business Association and city hall wanted to pave it over for a parking lot to serve downtown businesses. Local members of our VFW fought and won the take over of the park and prevented its desecration.
The proposed high-impact commercial development of WWP by this administration would grossly violate the public trust, robbing the electorate of rights it has fought hard and long to establish. This project and the way it is being handled represent a massive assault on the citizens and our park system.
The NO campaign is all about the City’s right to sell this park in particular. Because the powers that be have decided it. It’s been a “done deal” for more than two years.
I’m voting YES for Issue #6 to save Port Clinton Parks and there’s a lot more at stake then just parks – this is a contest to see who will be the dominant force in Port Clinton for decades to come – the people or the local politicians who think first of keeping developers happy.
Veterans Vote YES for Issue 6.
Port Clinton High School, class of 1967
Vietnam War Veteran, 1968-1970
American Legion Post #0113
VFW Post 2480, Life Member
VOTE YES ON ISSUE 6
I’ve been paying attention to the debate about the development of our waterfront and whether the citizens of Port Clinton should be allowed to vote on the sale of our public lands, such as Waterworks Park.
In my estimation, the primary issue is not whether I want development or to have a beautiful park. The primary issue of concern to me is that we do not sell or lease (leasing for 100 years is essentially selling, in my view) our public lands without the consent of the people.
That’s why I think it is important to vote yes on Issue 6.
Mary K. Baumgartner
Losing the Waterfront
I would like to thank every member of CORD for all the time and effort they have put in to save our parks for us. I would also like to congratulate them for their success on getting the needed signatures so a petition can be put on the November ballot.
I truly believe the citizens will support this petition, giving us the right to vote if we want to keep our parks as parks, or let our administration have a developer fill them with those ugly, view blocking condos.
The leader of CORD was not afraid to stand up and be heard. He fought constantly to keep our administration from taking the citizens’ Waterworks Park from us, and turning it into a millionaire’s playground. Now we must make sure the administration doesn’t slam it shut on us and we can do that at the voting polls in November by voting for the petition that will give us the right to vote on the future of our parks.
The Lord took this man from us before he could finish his fight with our administration, now we must get stronger and fight harder to finish what he started. God bless you, Don Finke.
I believe if we would somehow lose the Citizens’ Waterworks Park, it could be the first step to losing all of our parks and waterfront property. Don’t ever believe our waterfront property, between Fulton and Maple, is any safer than the Citizens’ Waterworks Park was 20 years ago.
Remember, citizens, once a park is covered with ugly view blockers, it is gone forever.
Bob Walls, Sr.
Your Vote is Your Voice
In July Port Clinton City Council’s meeting format changed requiring citizens to sign-in for questions and make statements before meetings begin. It is UNCLEAR why council would not want to hear what the people have to say about what they are doing. How can we comment if we haven’t heard what they have said yet?
Is this to stifle public input?
Council president Hartlaub said that’s what other cities do. Councilman Below said that’s what Oak Harbor, Huron, Vermillion, Perrysburg, Clyde and Woodville do.
What else do these cities do?
These cities provide many things that Port Clinton does not provide to its residents:
Oak Harbor, pop. 2700 – 3 little league ball diamonds, one softball diamond, 2 full size basketball courts, 3 half-basketball courts, 2 tennis courts, and an ice skating rink.
Huron, pop. 7100 – amphitheater, boat basin, boat access, lighthouse, 1.2 mile trail plus tennis courts, 2 batting cages, nature trail, and 3 shelters.
Perrysburg, pop. 21,000 – 11 city parks with 189 acres of green space within the city limits, 4 miles of walking path, an 18-hole golf course as well as Fort Imagination.
Clyde, pop. 6300 – baseball/softball diamonds, volleyball courts and tennis courts.
Woodville, pop. 2100 – Community Swimming Pool
Vermillion, pop. 10,500 – 9 dedicated Parks plus a community pool. Most importantly the city of Vermillion is buying lakefront property, not selling it. Vermillion acquired a 2.3-acre parcel on the lake for $1.65 million while accepting opinions from the community on how to transform the building for public use.
Vermillion is buying, Port Clinton is selling lakefront property, I am CONFUSED.
Your government officials aren’t listening to you, they are making it difficult for you to speak out, so it’s even more important to vote on the Park issue.
Port Clinton, Ohio
Comment by CORD: Vermilion acquired the former Inland Seas Maritime Museum property. Administrators raised the necessary $1.65 million to acquire the 2.3-acre property which is on the Lake Erie shoreline. Officials continue to seek input from community members about how to transform the empty building for a public use.
C.O.R.D. supports the Lighthouse Conservancy
Port Clinton is a maritime community built on the Great Lake Erie some 200 years ago. It is Lake Erie that brought the settlers here, and it is the great lake that keeps most of us here. Most of us were born and raised here and will always live here.
Maybe some of us have become accustomed to all that — but the small group of dedicated men and women in the Lighthouse Conservancy have not — they strive to honor our heritage. The residents of Port Clinton, the citizens of Ohio and people throughout the Great Lakes region are lucky to have such devoted individuals.
The commitment of these “lighthouse people” has gone mostly overlooked. They have maintained their enthusiasm even as their attempts to purchase and renovate the Lighthouse Keepers House and the foundation of Port Clinton’s original 1832 Lighthouse were ignored.
Now, after a year of resistance from the Leone administration, they are pleading to have the leases signed — for placement of the fully restored 1897 Port Clinton Lighthouse at Water Works Park.
Citizens Organized for Responsible Development hopes the Leone administration’s stalling is not a politically motivated effort to confuse voters or an attempt to block the citizen ballot initiative.
There is intense development pressure; we must make smart decisions that allow us to grow while protecting what makes Port Clinton unique. C.O.R.D. understands that Port Clinton’s reputation is largely built on its public parks, Lake Erie shoreline access, and open spaces.
Protection of historically and culturally significant properties is responsible development.
The return of the lighthouse to its home at Water Works Park is responsible development and will allow Port Clinton to maintain a sense of place, anchor people’s roots and provide a higher quality of life for residents and visitors.
Parks and lighthouses are drivers of local economic impact.
C.O.R.D. Port Clinton
Comment by Sandusky’s “Save Our Shoreline”
Google Windsor Ontario Festival Park or the Banks in Cincinnati for top notch examples of waterfront Smart Growth.
I always get a kick out of politicians or residents that scream fowl when there is opposition to privatizing public waterfront areas by claiming those groups and individuals fighting to protect the same “have hidden agendas”. What’s hidden? CORD and similar groups are protecting what belongs to everyone.
T. A. Schwanger
President, Save Our Shoreline Parks, Sandusky, Ohio
Park it Forward
With 20 counties comprising Ohio’s Great Lakes Region, the state has an abundance of shoreline-over 300 miles. These places where land meets water are special, offering people areas to play, contemplate, and appreciate the natural world. The lake defines Ohio’s geography, is essential to its economy, and anchors its culture. Unfortunately, the public has very limited access to the 313 miles of Lake Erie shoreline, making it challenging for residents to directly experience and enjoy Ohio’s greatest natural resource. Of Ohio’s 312 miles of shoreline on Lake Erie, only 16% of that shoreline is available to the public … and Port Clinton has 1 whole mile of this coveted access.
Lakeside communities with open shoreline space for parks and other recreational areas are the most loved and visited communities. I want to realize a vision of Lake Erie Shoreline all people can enjoy … I want to keep it open for you! I am not CONFUSED – I want to have a vote on whether or not the city of Port Clinton can sell MY park.
The United States is losing 6,000 acres of open space every day, and 100,000 acres of wetlands every year. What is UNCLEAR is why the establishment would not want to stop the loss and destruction of our greatest resources.
Thanks go to President of Council Linda Hartlaub and prior administrations that fought for years to preserve the wetland and restore it to it’s natural state – our geography. Thanks for upgrading our Lakeview Park and city beach – our recreation. But Water Works Park defines and anchors us, our festivals, our culture.
Park it forward for future generations to enjoy.
It’s time to defend and protect our most coveted natural asset – the shoreline.
Port Clinton, Ohio
I am not from Port Clinton but I am from close by and I have been going to Waterworks park for most of my life. My great grandmother lives on Washington Street in Port Clinton, so whenever we would visit, my brothers an I would go down to the park to play or fish. I think Waterworks park should never be developed as anything more then a park. It would take away the only place you can still see the lake along Perry street. Not only that it would take away future memories of the people who love to go there. I’ve been there countless times to sit and watch the fireworks or walk through the walleye fest and enjoy the company of my friends sitting by the lake. We all need to fight to keep the park the way it is. I think I speak for many when I say the last thing we need in its place is more condos or businesses. Save Waterworks Park!!
Oak Harbor, Ohio
Via WEB CONTACT FORM
I am sixty this year and as a small boy I would always come to the wall in port Clinton and fish with my father and even my grandfather. I just heard about this issue of making the park into condos and shopping. Why? I still come up here and fish on almost a weekly basis. When I do, I buy gas, buy bait, and buy food at the local merchants. I along with so many others. Do you think I will continue to drive up here to go shopping? I can do that a lot closer to home. Port Clinton is dead in the winter months and they need the average Joe fisherman or fisherwoman to keep the economy of the town going with shoreline fisherman. Please ask the regular merchants how different there revenue is between fishing season and the off season. If this passes a great injustice will be done to the town and also to the people from all over the state that uses the old wall as a fishing location. I really believe that the people that are pushing this has a incentive behind them. It is not to make the town better but to put some kind of material, either monetary or real into their own pockets. Have any of the people involved with this actually gone down there on a weekend and see how many people use the old wall. For the people that live in Port Clinton: not very often can you live in a town with a preserve this nice that is free and within walking distance. Please don’t spoil a good thing you have. Spend a little more money on the beach area of the park and leave a piece of Gods country intact for all to enjoy. Once it is gone you can’t bring it back.
Charles Horn, Findlay, Ohio
Via WEB CONTACT FORM
Comment by CORD: The economic impacts of shoreline fishing have been studied by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, here is a copy of their report: Lake Erie Shoreline Creel Economic Impact Study. The results of this study may be useful to policy makers in decision making relating to the allocation of resources to enhance Lake Erie public access, improve shoreline water quality, and develop amenities for shoreline anglers.
Results of the study show that the average shoreline angler travels 32 miles one way to fish, and incurs a round trip travel cost of $40. They spend about $8.22 per fishing trip in Lake Erie shoreline communities. The statistical analyses showed that many of the anglers are either low income locals, or high income anglers from far away, including out of state visitors. With total angler visits to the Lake Erie shoreline of 172,665 in 2006, and 102,871 in 2007 this yields an estimated total annual spending of $1.42 million of shoreline local spending in 2006 and $0.85 million in 2007.
My family has enjoyed your park for many years. Just today we sat and watched the boats again. Our home is in Shelby Ohio but come to your wonderful city for the relaxation of walking and enjoying the water many times a year. Please do not allow condos or anything else there. Your city is special because of the park.
Web Contact Form
Promoting our parks
I agree with CORD’s mission statement and what they are trying to do for the people of our city. Citizens Organized for Responsible Development are an honest group who want the best for the city, her people and the natural life in our parks. I think there are many people who want our waterfront to remain as a park. These same people want our city to prosper. There can be a compromise and just because it hasn’t happened doesn’t mean that it can’t.
There have been ideas for the park that would benefit the community and entice tourists into our area. These ideas don’t entail restaurants, bars or condos to be located at Waterworks Park. It seems that Port Clinton is a microcosm of what is happening to our nation. It is divided. Our city is divided because some want to develop our park and some want to use the park in its natural state. We keep building on natural areas and leaving the buildings empty. It is obvious that it is not a magic bullet.
We need to work as a united group. We have grant monies correct? It is important to continue to refurbish the downtown area, have more events, encourage building owners to take care of their existing buildings they have now and support the downtown businesses. It is important for all involved to be honest. Three swings may be a strike out, but 4 balls is a walk and you have the opportunity to score. Let’s go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate. Move forward by saving our parks and saving our city.
While reading the Ottawa County Register, I was surprised to read what one of our ex-mayors and one of our active councilmen thought about the citizens wanting to vote on the biggest issue Port Clinton has had in the 88 years I have lived here.
Isn’t voting still the American way? Wasn’t voting the reason our ex-mayor was mayor of Port Clinton for all those years, and wasn’t voting what made him so happy when we, the citizens, voted to rezone the citizen’s park. Now, all at once, are we to believe voting is not the American way?
It was even more surprising to read that one of our councilmen would be against the citizens wanting to vote to try to save their park from being covered with condos?
I can remember when our councilmen would fight to get what the citizens what they wanted. That was the American way. Now it seems like the council is fighting the citizens to get what the council wants. That is not the American way.
We are very fortunate to have a group of citizens (C.O.R.D.) that give their time, effort, and money to try and save our parks for us. Anyone that loves Port Clinton has to love the C.O.R.D., God bless all of them.
It is said that Washington Properties will transform Waterworks Park into a multi-million dollar lodge, boardwalk, and storefront area with other amenities. I’m sure you citizens all know what the other amenities are… condos.
How can condos help anyone other than the wealthy owners who will use them six or eight weekends a year, but will close out the beauty of the lake and the river, 52 weeks a year.
If you want to save our parks, please sign the C.O.R.D. petition so we can put it to a vote, the American way.
Two Square Miles I Call Home!
June 4, 2014
We have collected some facts and figures comparing Wooster, Ohio and Port Clinton, Ohio here: Statistics of Wooster & Port Clinton . Take a look at the population, the area in square miles, and then check out the population densities!
Groveland, Florida is about the same size, 3 square miles population density 2900 sq. mi. Between 2000 and 2010, Groveland’s population increased by 189%, making it the fastest growing place in Florida. However, its land area increased more than fivefold from annexation.
If Port Clinton needs to grow it needs to start annexing!
Port Clinton needs good jobs, not Citizens Park jobs
May 30, 2014
I still drive down Fulton Street nearly every day, and when I stop at Perry Street for oncoming traffic, I still look at the river, the lake, and the pier of giant boulders that extends hundreds of feet out into the water, separating the river from the lake, and I get to wondering how long it will be before I will no longer be able to see the beauty that was given to us by God, but may be taken from us by man.
Yes, the beauty will still be there, but it will not be seen from Fulton Street, or Perry Street, it will be seen by the wealthy condo owners, from different cities, and different states, that will come to Port Clinton, a few weekends a month, in the summer.
I wish every citizen could drive down Fulton Street to Perry Street, and take a good look at a sight so beautiful that you will know it must be saved.
Then drive down to East Perry Street and take a good look at a sight so ugly that you will know it had to be made by man, then ask yourself: Do we really want West Perry Street to look like this?
We keep hearing about 585 new jobs, so let us pretend this fairytale is true. We used to call these kinds of jobs J.P. jobs.
J.P. stood for Johnny Paycheck, a struggling country singer until he recorded a song about the kind of jobs that will be available if we develop the citizens park. And I believe most of our unemployed will say the same thing that Johnny Paycheck said “You can take this job and shove it”
I do not believe we need anymore J.P. jobs, when you see “Help Wanted” signs on Perry Street all summer.
Citizens be heard.
Apr 30, 2014
Ottawa County has 94 miles of Lake Erie shoreline and 14.5 miles of 15% is public access. Port Clinton has one mile of this access.
We already have hotel/motels, bars, condos and restaurants up and down the shoreline. Why do we need more? Port Clinton should take advantage of its uniqueness and build the most beautiful park imaginable.
Port Clinton can be a destination with a place to experience the lake, shop, eat and spend the night. Best of all, our residents can enjoy it too.
Once we destroy our lake access, it is gone forever.
K.V. Port Clinton
Port Clinton needs $6,000,000
March 26, 2014
Port Clinton is expected to come up with six million dollars according to Catawba resident Craig Trick who is representing Washington Properties for the proposed development at Waterworks Park. At the March 6 city council meeting council President Linda Hartlaub did not allow the public to ask questions, so I guess citizens are expected to make nice, keep our mouths shut and accept it. The chairman of city council’s Parks and Recreation Committee, Councilman Ron Aukerman, estimated that for $2,000,000 the park could be made into a destination to draw visitors. It appears that the rest of the $6,000,000 is to support the condos, hotel and retail space being proposed at the park.
If the city can get $6,000,000 to enable a developer’s project, getting $2,000,000 to rehab the park for the residents should be a cakewalk! And, if they can get $6,000,000 for the development why didn’t they get $2,000,000 for the park in years past? What have they been waiting for? The answer may be that there are those in the community who wanted Waterworks Park to deteriorate and look as bad as possible so the citizens would support the condos, hotel and shops.
We need a beautiful park AND downtown revitalization. Some negative individuals in the community want to give up the park to support the downtown. If you care about what’s happening at Waterworks Park, speak up! Tell your friends, neighbors, relatives and City Council. It’s not the CITY’s park – it’s the CITIZEN’s park.
A word of caution – when you ask questions to City Council don’t accept a response of “trust me”. When it comes to Waterworks Park, we’ve heard “trust me” said so many times and in so many ways it boggles the mind.
Cary Moon is an urban designer, systems engineer and activist in Seattle.
Her grandfather lived in Port Clinton as a young man. Thank you Cary.
To: The Honorable Mayor and Members of Port Clinton City Government
Greetings from Seattle. I am fascinated from afar by your civic efforts to revitalize your waterfront. Since I’ve been involved in a similar– and so far successful– effort in Seattle, and since the shore of Lake Erie holds special meaning for me as my ancestral home, I hope you’ll consider this giant red flag.
In Seattle, a 2001 earthquake blessed our city with a gift: damaging our elevated waterfront highway beyond repair. The debate about what to do with the resulting 22 acres of public land raged for 10 years, with several rounds of proposals and debate. All that public dialog made us smarter about the crucial role public parks serve in cities, and more firmly committed to a shared vision that keeps ALL the reclaimed land in public ownership and public use. We are finally underway with a broad civic partnership to build a beautiful new waterfront – one that is 100% for civic and ecological benefit, welcoming and free to all.
Every city, large or small, wants to build broad prosperity and leave a legacy of a better world for our children. It’s beyond hard to know how to jumpstart a stalled economy, and proposals to privatize public land with a shiny fresh development are tempting. The pitch is familiar: if you just turn over public resources to our capable hands, you’ll see increased tax revenues, job growth, a revitalized downtown. But a city should be very, very unwilling to permanently sell off or give away valuable public land for what often turns out to be a short-term hit of construction jobs. It’s often a desperate mistake, part of a downward spiral.
The heated opposition to this particular Waterworks Park proposal probably means that you don’t yet have a vision that speaks to what is good and true and authentic for Port Clinton’s future.
The key concern: Why the heck would the City give up its most precious community asset – waterfront land? It’s the City’s job to manage its land to provide a great public realm and the civic and physical infrastructure that attracts employers and investors. It’s the development industry’s job to build the housing and commercial space that economic growth demands – but there is plenty of private land for that. This waterfront land is a civic and ecological and historic treasure, and legally “appropriated to use and enjoyment of all the residents of the town as a public park.”
Do you really want to squander your beloved community waterfront for a private enclave (condos, retail, a 5 star restaurant, and a spa) that most citizens will feel excluded from?
Are fresher buildings really all your economy needs? An economic development strategy should be a lot deeper than that. Unless you’re specifically targeting a new ecosystem of employers, the net result may be to steal business from downtown, furthering the decline there. Shouldn’t you be focusing on creating public realm that strengthens downtown vibrancy, not sucking its lifeblood?
With such a beautiful lakeside setting, tourism is likely a strong part of your future economy. Tourists crave authenticity, and being immersed in what landscape architects call ‘the genius of the place.’ Be very careful you don’t pave over your slice of paradise with a development that looks like it could be anywhere.
Here are some practical ideas that might help you resolve what to do:
- Get some other ideas in the mix. Hold a design competition or charrette to generate ideas based on your most virtuous civic ideals. Visualizing what might happen can be eye-opening and inspirational. More importantly, it can move the conversation off the false dichotomy of “do our commercial development project or you get nothing.”
- Call all the angels to your cause. Elected officials and civic leaders should enlist every non-profit group, relevant agency and philanthropic organization to help envision, and create a viable strategy, for this site. The Trust for Public Land, all the various historic and ecological conservancies, Congress for the New Urbanism, Mainstreet.org, DNR, the Waterfront Center…. Convene and listen to the experts who know how to craft beloved urban public realm.
- Convene a group of diverse civic leaders –who can be trusted to represent the future public interest – and a venerable planning/ design firm to help refine a more civic vision, shape an effective implementation strategy, and assemble a funding plan.
Private investment is a key part of the solution set, but you don’t have to give away public land to get it. And you shouldn’t let private developers envision your future for you; that is the sacred right and responsibility of citizenship.
Cary Moon, Seattle, Washington
Residents should decide park’s future
Five days a week I drive down Fulton Street on the way to my shop.
When I stop for oncoming traffic on Perry Street, I always look at Citizens Water Works Park, the river, lake and pier made of giant boulders that goes hundreds of feet into the lake. It is a beautiful sight, one you will see nowhere else.
And yet, there are those that want to replace all that beauty with an ugliness that will stand forever. And they are not people from out of town or out of state, they are people right here in Port Clinton, our administration.
I do not believe our administration should have the power to decide if we should or should not develop the Citizens Water Works Park.
Only the citizens of Port Clinton should make that decision and it should decide be done by a vote, yes or no.
One of our councilmen said the big dollar is in condos and there can be no development without condos — from The Beacon Sept. 19, 2013.
This makes me believe the developer needs to build condos for operating money. If this is true, what or who would stop him from covering the whole waterfront with condos? No one.
I cannot believe that when the developer gets done with the big dollar work, that he will go downtown to do the nickel-and-dime work. Ask him to do downtown first. His answer should tell you everything.
Could it be our administration is getting so desperate to do something — right or wrong — that they will hire a developer that would have to build condos to have operating money? If this is true, we are putting our necks on the chopping block. Let us put it up to a vote.
Bob Walls Sr. Port Clinton
Trust fund for the Benefit of the Citizens and Visitors of Port Clinton
Not yet addressed is the use of the proceeds from the sale or lease of Waterworks Park, public waterfront property being transferred to private commercial use.
I submit that the proceeds of such a transfer be deposited into a trust fund for:
- The exclusive purpose of funding capital improvements in the parks, cemeteries and recreational lands of the city of Port Clinton including the acquisition of replacement land for park purposes.
- That any gifts or grants made to the city and designated for park or cemetery improvement purposes be deposited into this permanent endowment fund.
- That the funds be invested under a trust agreement with a trust company with the objective of generating income over time consistent with preservation of capital.
- That only some fraction of the investment income from the trust is transferred to a capital improvements fund for our parks, cemeteries and recreation areas.
Designating the destination and use of funds received from the privatization of public property can assure that the original intent of our city’s founder, Ezekiel Smith Haines, be carried out for the next 100 years.
It also makes clear to elected officials that the decisions they make be financially sustainable. “Build it and they will come” needs to be justified. The premise that tourism, jobs and taxes from this endeavor will salvage our community’s fiscal security needs to be thoroughly vetted. This money should not go into the general budget or pensions, but be reserved for parks for the continuing benefit of our citizens and our visitors.
V.C. Port Clinton