Pro­posed Sun­set Pier is vi­tal for Lo­rain

Sun­set Pier in Lo­rain’s Lake­view Park is needed to trans­form the In­ter­na­tional City into a tourist des­ti­na­tion.

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - OPINION -

The pro­posed pier ac­tu­ally could be a cat­a­lyst for fu­ture eco­nomic devel­op­ment, es­pe­cially on Lake Erie which draws thou­sands of peo­ple each year.

In re­cent years, Lo­rain’s wa­ter­front has gained at­ten­tion, es­pe­cially be­cause of re­gional and na­tional fish­ing tour­na­ments, and with Lake­view Park, which has one of the finest beaches along Lake Erie in Ohio. But Lo­rain needs more. And the pier could be that ad­di­tion to fur­ther de­velop Lo­rain.

The Lo­rain Ro­tary Club, work­ing with the Lo­rain Pol­ish Fish­er­men’s Club and Lo­rain County Metro Parks, have cre­ated plans for the new Sun­set Pier, which would stretch out into Lake Erie from the west side of the city’s prime lake­front park.

If the or­ga­ni­za­tion gains the needed ap­provals, the plan is to raise $12 mil­lion — in­clud­ing grants — for the project and build the pier over the next two years.

The pier likely would have a $1 ad­mis­sion fee to pay for main­te­nance and up­keep.

Plan­ners of the pier pre­sented the idea to Lo­rain City Coun­cil’s Parks and Re­cre­ation Com­mit­tee the evening of Sept. 11.

Coun­cil’s Parks and Re­cre­ation Com­mit­tee did not take for­mal ac­tion, but com­mit­tee Chair­man Mitch Fal­lis said he will ask the com­mit­tee to en­dorse the idea.

Coun­cil also will con­sider a res­o­lu­tion of sup­port as early as its next reg­u­lar meet­ing Sept. 18.

Ro­tary Club mem­bers Rob Le­vit and Ron Man­tini, and Tom Saltis, vice pres­i­dent of the Pol­ish Fish­er­men’s Club, said if all goes well, the public would be stand­ing on the Sun­set Pier in 2020.

The idea of a pier has floated around for many years, but this in­stall­ment of the plan seems to be sound, wellde­vised and well-re­searched.

Le­vit said this could be a project for the ages. And he’s cor­rect. Built with a wavy edge, Sun­set Pier would be about 40 to 45 wide and sit about 18 feet over the water level.

Crews would build the pier with steel crib bases near the shore­line, then con­crete pil­lars fur­ther out in the water. The height of the pier and shape of the sup­ports would pre­vent wave and ice dam­age in win­ter

he pier would have some glass pan­els in its sur­face to al­low peo­ple to look down at the water.

Viewed from above, the pier would be shaped like a ham- mer. A pavil­ion on the end would be avail­able for events.

The pier would be a new amenity to en­joy Lo­rain’s shore­line.

Dur­ing the Coun­cil meet­ing, Le­vit de­scribed and showed pho­tos he’s taken of the Lake Erie views, es­pe­cially of the nat­u­ral beauty of the sum­mer sun­sets in the park.

Le­vit said, “This is ev­ery night — this is what you look at ev­ery sin­gle night. Why not start build­ing on some­thing that’s a win win?”

Lake­view Park is a nat­u­ral fit with Ro­tary, which has spon­sored the Rose Gar­den and gazebo there.

Lo­rain County Metro Parks man­ages Lake­view Park, and has done a great job of main­tain­ing the park and with pro­grams for all.

Yearly at­ten­dance at Lake­view Park is es­ti­mated to be more than 1 mil­lion peo­ple.

Add the pier, and there could be mil­lions more vis­it­ing the park.

Af­ter the pre­sen­ta­tion, Fal­lis called the con­cept one of the best ideas to come out of Lo­rain in a long time.

If Sun­set Pier be­comes a re­al­ity, Fal­lis said this would be a game changer and would put Lo­rain on the na­tional map.

Ini­tial public re­ac­tion was strong Sept. 11 when Sun­set Pier back­ers in­tro­duced the plan.

Chuck Becker, a fre­quent at­tendee at Coun­cil meet­ings, said he be­lieves this is the best thing he’s seen in 80 years of liv­ing in Lo­rain.

Res­i­dent Marge Walker said the project plan­ners are the group she’s been wait­ing for.

Ear­lier this year, Walker at­tended a Lo­rain His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety char­rette meet­ing and pro­posed a Fer­ris wheel or merry-go-round for new wa­ter­front at­trac­tions. Imag­ine that. Sprin­kled be­tween the pier and the amuse­ment at­trac­tions, there could be a few re­tail shops sell­ing trin­kets and food carts with eth­nic cui­sine in­spired by the di­verse Lo­rain pop­u­la­tion.

Visi­tors then can walk or get in their ve­hi­cles — cars, trucks, bikes, hov­er­boards, skate­boards or what­ever — and ven­ture to down­town Lo­rain and at­tend a Rockin’ on the River sum­mer weekly con­cert, at­tend a show at the Lo­rain Palace Theater, visit a bou­tique or a jew­elry store or stop at a cof­fee shop for some Joe .. The dreams are end­less. The Sun­set Pier is part of the equa­tion that Lo­rain needs to start a trans­for­ma­tion as a tourist des­ti­na­tion in be­tween Cedar Point and Cleve­land.

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