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Lake Erie Improvement Association presents Healing the Lake: Bring Back the Blue

Guest speaker State Representative Chris Redfern with LEIA president Jim Stouffer and guest speaker Ohio Senator Randy Gardner.

“There is not a more vital resource in our backyard than Lake Erie,” said Lake Erie Improvement Association (LEIA) President and Chairman/CEO of Catawba Island Club Jim Stouffer Friday at LEIA’s Healing the Lake: Bring Back the Blue event held at Catawba Island Club. “The lake affects jobs and families. Anything we can do as a marine or hospitality industry we need to do it. We have to make sure this resource stays vibrant.”

LEIA is a Lake Erie watershed-wide economic sustainability initiative dedicated to healthy waters and fish by promoting cooperation and wise resource management for the benefit of the Lake Erie basin. The goal of LEIA is to reduce nutrient loading into Lake Erie and to help address other Lake Erie challenges. LEIA bridges the gap between public and private Lake Erie stakeholders, using a business model approach. LEIA is uniquely positioned as the organization that speaks for healthy Lake Erie dependent businesses to promote economic sustainability.

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Redfern helps free up $1.4M for Middle Bass Island State Park

State Representative Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) voted this week to appropriate over $1.4 million in state funds for the continued development of Middle Bass Island State Park. Speer Brothers of Sandusky have been selected to complete the improvements, which include the partial rehabilitation of the Lonz press house, a new 5,400 square foot park shelter with a fireplace and new public restroom facilities.

“This is an important investment in our community that will drive economic activity through increased tourism while creating a more enjoyable public space for area residents,” said Rep. Redfern.

The additional park upgrades will join a host of previously completed improvements, including a 190 slip public marina, public restrooms, park offices, maintenance buildings and new utility services.

New improvements could pave the way for a total redevelopment of the press house and reuse of the Lonz residence and main winery. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources acquired the Lonz buildings in 2000 with local support from the travel, tourism and wine industry to advance revitalization plans. The Lonz Winery is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Rep. Redfern serves as one of two Democratic members on the State Controlling Board, a panel tasked with oversight of state spending. In October, Rep. Redfern cast the deciding vote in favor of expanding Medicaid healthcare coverage to impoverished, physically and developmentally disabled Ohioans.

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