A proposal by a local advocacy group for the transfer of the historical Port Clinton Lighthouse to the City and its placement on the waterfront will be the focus of a public meeting being held Wednesday, March 13, at the Ida
Rupp Public Library in Port Clinton. The meeting will run from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy, a local non-profit organization, will brief the public on the details of the proposal and on its ongoing restoration effort.
The Conservancy has been in talks with the city and Medina developer Mike Rose to flesh out details of the proposed transfer. A sticking point has been the owner’s insistence on waterfront placement, as well as a permanent bar on selling, moving or altering the light.
The city has said it welcomes the gift, but wants no strings attached. However, such transfer conditions are not uncommon. The late Oliver True gave Lakefront Park to the city with a similar stipulation. This is the group’s second public meeting in three months. The first, held in mid January, kicked off a grassroots campaign the group dubbed “Bring Back the Light.”
Its purpose was to inform the public about the lighthouse and its value as a historic treasure and local icon. The Conservancy is seeking to rally community support for the placement of the lighthouse in the Waterworks Park. The group believes the lighthouse will attract many new visitors to the city, including at least some of the thousands of lighthouse lovers who come to see the nearby Marblehead Lighthouse.
“The lighthouse is a local icon, featured on the city seal and on its welcome signs,” says PCLC president, Rich Norgard. “It is not only an attractive structure, but historically significant to the community as well. It is worth preserving for future generations.”
The Conservancy is pushing for swift approval by the city for two reasons. The first is that restoration cannot be completed until the lighthouse has been permanently placed. The second reason is the upcoming War of 1812 Bicentennial celebrations.
“This will be the single biggest celebratory event in Vacationland’s history,” Norgard says. “Having the lighthouse in the park this summer, even under restoration, would be significant new attraction for the many thousands of tourists here for the Bicentennial. It would be a shame not to take advantage of that.”
The lighthouse was erected in 1896 at the end of the west pier that juts out into the Portage River. The light operated until about 1927. In November 1952 the lighthouse was removed from the pier and taken to present day Brands’ Marina, where it has stood for over sixty years.