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Special meeting of council held for presentation by Washington Properties Featured

On March 6 at 6 p.m. a special meeting of council was held in the city council chambers for a presentation by Mike Rose of Washington Properties. All members of council were present (Ron Aukerman of Ward 1, Jerry Tarolli of Ward 2, Margaret Phillips of Ward 3, Gabe Below of Ward 4, Nicole DeFreitas council at large, Lisa Sarty council at large, and Mike Snider council at large) except President of Council Linda Hartlaub and Clerk of Council Leigh Sprenger who were out because of illness. City Auditor Cole Hatfield acted as clerk and Mike Snider acted as president. Mayor Vince Leone was also present at the table for the meeting.

“This is a hot topic for the city of Port Clinton,” said Mayor Leone as the meeting was starting. “Due to input from the community the rendering (of the plan) has changed.”

Washington Properties was there to show council and those in attendance at the meeting the new, re-designed plans. Craig Trick of Port Clinton, who is working with Washington Properties, gave the presentation.

“It’s an exciting time to be a resident and even more exciting for the leaders because they are an important part of furthering the future of Port Clinton,” said Trick.

The objective given by Washington Properties for the project states its purpose is to capitalize on the rich heritage and natural resources Port Clinton has to offer. Ultimately restoring PRIDE in the community and creating a regional hub, which will bring people to the area year round.

The presentation then showed before and the projected after plans of three downtown buildings; the Hersberger building on Madison Street, the empty building on the corner of Madison and East Second Street, and the Loof building on Madison Street. 

“The bones are there,” said Trick, “we just need to make it happen.”

Next, the presentation showed the projected plan for Waterworks Park which Washington Properties is calling the Harborfront at Port Clinton. The Harborfront at Port Clinton has a lodge, store fronts, residential space above the store fronts, a boardwalk, viewing platforms, dockage, an amphitheatre and more green space than the original plan that Washington Properties had showed council and residents at previous meetings.

When talking about the Harborfront plan, Trick invited Mike Rose to come up and help explain the new print. The lodge planned for the Harborfront was modeled after Victory Hotel on South Bass Island which Rose and Trick agreed would capture a piece of our area’s history. Lodge amenities would include a banquet hall, conference rooms, studio to three bedroom units, pool, spa, fitness center, restaurants and more. All the areas of the projected Harborfront plan would be accessible to the public.

Trick and Rose explained the project as a redevelopment artery.

“One building is renovated at a time and the renovations become contagious,” said Trick.

The presentation then posed the questions: Why Washington Properties? Why Port Clinton? Answer: for the revitalization of downtown Port Clinton and the development and enhancement of the waterfront. 

“The utilization of the Waterworks Park area right now is not perfect,” said Trick.

The key to success for the project according to Washington Properties is an investment in both the existing downtown and the existing waterfront. Washington Properties remains committed to both.

The following were proposed by Washington Properties:

Washington Properties commitment

Washington Properties will invest $60 million in the city, including 333,000sf of new construction.

•173,000sf lodge and conference center
•31,600sf first floor retail, linking the downtown to the waterfront
•119 residential units to support and encourage downtown living

Port Clinton’s participation

Washington Properties would ask the city to take the lead in seeking and securing grants for public improvements to the site.

These improvements could include but are not limited to the following: boardwalk, marine, amphitheatre, walking paths, playground and picnic area, streets and utilities and enhancement of Derby Pond.

Immediate impact for the city

•$60 million private investment over 5 years
•$6 million public improvements over 5 years
•10:1 ratio of private to public investment

The project will create 500 jobs during the 5 year construction period and 585 full time jobs upon completion.

The project will create an influx of investment and renovations to the existing downtown, spurring new business and start-ups and increased property values.

Economic impact

An economic impact analysis has been prepared by an independent party showing the direct and indirect impact this investment will have not only on the city, but the county and state as well.

The economic impact study will be discussed at the next council meeting that will be held March 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the city council chamber.

In closing, Washington Properties made the following statement:

Washington Properties has listened to the comments and concerns of people in the community and has made adjustments to accommodate the desires of the community as a whole.

There will be an enhanced Waterworks Park with 100% public access to the entire site, including the waterfront.

Washington Properties has completed and submitted its plan for investment and redevelopment in the City of Port Clinton. The Ottawa County Improvement Corporation has provided an economic impact analysis prepared by an independent party.

No further action can occur until city council approves the plan that has been submitted and authorizes the negotiations between the city and Washington Properties to commence. 

Washington Properties is prepared to move forward once city council completes these actions. 

If these actions are taken then the projected start date for the project is spring 2015.

At this time in the meeting there was to be no public comment, the only questions that could be asked were questions from the council.

Phillips: What would start first: the downtown renovations or the waterfront?
Rose: They would both be going at the same time.

Phillips: Is the lodge private?
Rose: No, it is open to anyone.

Tarolli: Would you want to purchase some buildings downtown?
Rose: Yes.

Tarolli: The full time jobs that are being created by the project, how much will those people be making?
Rose: The answers to that will be given on next Tuesday’s meeting with the economic impact study.

Phillips: How many boat slips are off the boardwalk?
Rose: There are 70 projected along the riverfront.

Below: I noticed that the fishing industry wasn’t mentioned as much as in previous meetings, is there a de-emphasis on fishing?
Trick: No, not at all. We had planned on having charter boat docks along the river as well. We wanted to invite local charter captains to house boats at the docks.

Below: Will the parking in the plan be reserved spots or spots that are open to the public?
Trick: The spots to the right of the lodge overlooking the lake will be open to the public.

Below: Are the three buildings shown in the presentation of downtown renovations the buildings you are looking to buy? (Hersberger building, Madison & Second property and the Loof building)
Rose: We think these buildings have potential, they are strong candidates.

Aukerman: If the city cannot get the funding, how much will that affect the project? Is it a deal breaker?
Rose: We will address those concerns on Tuesday.

Snider: Is the financial partnership between the city and Washington Properties like those in Medina and Wooster?
Rose: Yes, there are a lot of different ways and options to obtain the money needed.

Snider: Is having the renovations downtown and the destination on the waterfront the same kind of model that was projected in Medina and Wooster?
Rose: Yes. By having the two areas on each end as anchors, then the middle just needs to be filled in. This is a proven method in other communities.

Tarolli: Compared to the new and old plans, how much more green space is there?
Rose: The buildings only take up 15% of the land. We don’t want to block it up, we want there to be useable space that people can come to. We want to make the area more comfortable and inviting. We will also provide maintenance for the grounds.

With no other questions from council, the meeting was adjourned. 

“This is a lot of information for the council,” said Mayor Leone. “There is a lot to digest. I appreciate that a lot of consideration of the public and council’s opinions went into the new plan. It screams nothing but character that defines our downtown.”

With many townspeople in attendance, the room and hallway of the council chambers were full; from young to seasoned residents. Two high school students in attendance, Gabe DeFreitas and Ty Gallogly, wanted to hear the plans to report back to their government class because they are required to attend a public function for school.

“Why not attend the all-star of all meetings,” said Gabe DeFreitas.

DeFreitas and Gallogly plan on leaving Port Clinton after graduating to attend college. They are like many young people in the area; a product of the great school systems and then they leave town after graduating. Would they come back if there was something to come back for?

“I want to come back here if there’s employment here,” said Ty Gallogly. “It’s hard to picture Port Clinton different than it is now, but it’s great to hear the possibilities.”

The next meeting discussing the plans Washington Properties has for Port Clinton will be held next Tuesday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers. The meeting will discuss the economic impact based on the plan that was presented March 6 by Washington Properties.

March 6 Washington Properties meeting

Projection of renovation for Second and Madison

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