Lorain, Vermilion seek funds for projects
Plans in works for pier, former museum
Planners of two waterfront projects in Lorain and Vermilion hope state legislators can provide financial help for the improvements.
Sunset Pier in Lorain and the former Inland Seas Maritime Museum planners confirmed they are seeking money for those projects in Ohio’s next two-year Capital Budget.
In Columbus, lawmakers are working on that spending plan, which has not been approved yet.
Project planners acknowledged
there will be competition among requests for state funding, so money is not guaranteed.
In September 2017, Lorain Rotary Club, working with the Lorain Polish Fishermen’s Club, unveiled plans for a $12 million Sunset Pier.
It would extend 800 feet into Lake Erie from the west end of Lorain’s Lakeview Park.
“It’s going to be a phenomenal project,” said Rob Levit, one of the Rotary Club members who has served as co-leader for the pier project.
Levit thanked state Rep. Nathan Manning and state Sen. Gayle Manning for their interest so far.
The project has received positive reactions from state reviewers, he said, and Lorain Rotary has reached out to Gov. John Kasich about the project.
“The timing is important, and I’m hoping this will be of interest to them,” Levit said.
With the Broadway streetscape and other projects, Lorain has developed positive momentum, he said.
Adding the pier is a benefit for the community, not just one person or small group, Levit said.
“This is for the public; that’s all we expect to get out of it,” he said. “Something for the public, something for the city, something with the element of rebirth.”
There was no stated limit on this type request, Levit said, so project planners asked for the entire cost.
“And why not? They would be investing in their state,” Levit said about the state lawmakers and regulators in Columbus.
Maritime museum in Vermilion
On Feb. 12, Vermilion City Council approved a resolution of support for the city capital request of $1.24 million toward the maritime museum.
It has become known as the Harbour View Beach Project.
In December, Vermilion’s Parks and Recreation Board voted for demolition as the preferred option for the former Inland Seas Maritime Museum, which is the Wakefield House and a 1960s addition.
Park board members agreed the former museum at 480 Main St. is a city landmark next to Main Street Beach, but a new facility would be cheaper to maintain and offer greater return in the long run.
Based on that recommendation, retired Mayor Eileen Bulan followed up with a capital budget request sent to state Sen. Randy Gardner and state Rep. Steve Arndt.
This week, Mayor Jim Forthofer followed up with a letter to Gardner outlining benefits of the project.
The redeveloped park and gathering space would increase public access to Lake Erie and could become the city’s signature park, Forthofer said.
Vermilion City Council also heard from Jonathon Logue, who led the Wakefield House Development Committee for the city parks board last year.
The project name, Harbour View Beach Project, is based on an earlier historical name of the Wakefield House, Logue said.
This model shows the shoreline end of the Sunset Pier proposed for the west end of the beach at Lakeview Park in Lorain.