A movement is under way to transform the old concrete fire dock into a boat launch in downtown Oak Harbor.
During Monday’s village council meeting, Administrator Randy Genzman reviewed the funding breakdown for the renovation project revived last year after years on the back burner.
He said a $62,850 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant has been obligated to the village and a $28,650 grant through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Nature Works is pending.
Should both be secured, the village share would cost about $34,200 if the project comes in at the low estimate of $125,000 calculated by ODNR staff, the administrator said.
The project falls in line with a low-key effort to revitalize the downtown to bring more visitors – and more spending – to Oak Harbor businesses.
The old fire dock structure located at the end of Church Street at the Portage River was once used to provide water service to fire trucks battling blazes in the downtown area. It has, however, remained dormant for years, Genzman said. The work site could impact the public easement along Church Street as well as the rear properties of Oak Harbor Hardware, Croghan Colonial Bank, U.S. Bank and the old Gordon Lumber yard.
Renovation would concentrate on constructing a hand-powered boat launch and dock and pier area for canoes, kayaks and similar watercraft. No access for motor-powered vehicles would be allowed, Genzman explained.
Councilman Jim Seaman wondered if the village might be able to use in-kind donations toward the village’s grant commitment instead of cash. He outlined a few suggestions, including using village labor.
“All these kind of things make the job more doable,” councilman Jon Fickert agreed.
Genzman said he would explore the possibility with ODNR officials.
Councilwoman Sue Rahm, who joined the group six months ago, pointed out she has never seen the proposed plans. She requested a copy for herself and the other new council member, Jackie Macko, so the two could make informed decisions in the future.
Ohio 163 water line project
The state recently awarded an Ohio Public Works Issue 2 grant to fund construction of Phase 2 of the Ohio 163 water line east of the village. Advertising can begin after July 15 and work is expected to be finished this fall.
The estimated project cost is $649,000. The village received a $324,000 grant. The cash payout for Oak Harbor is $162,000, according to the grant. To cover that, the village also applied for and received an Ohio Public Works Commission loan. Loan terms include zero percent interest and semi-annual payments over 20 years, according to Genzman.
High grass at solar panel field
Councilman Fickert continued his campaign to force Solar Planet to cut the grass on village land where the company placed solar panels. Fickert has often noted this spring and summer the hypocrisy of enforcing maintenance violations among residents when the same rules are not applied to this property under public ownership.
Despite many pleas last summer, the company mowed the lawn once last fall.
A portion of the mowing is done under the panels but standing water is hampering work around the panels, Genzman reported.
“Do we afford all of the citizens on the maintenance violation list that type of time,” Fickert asked.
No, Genzman answered.
Councilman Jim Seaman suggested checking out the cost of spraying and giving the company that option.