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 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.