The Village of Oak Harbor just became more accessible with the addition of a 60 foot public dock located along the downtown waterfront.
The Oak Harbor Downtown Revitalization Implementation Committee (OHDRIC) installed the dock as part of the village's waterfront development plan. The committee is charged with raising funds for the implementation of dockside amenities including walkways, lighting, landscaping, amphitheater and a dock expansion.
Michael Shadoan, committee chairman, said the dock is only the first step in a series of many the committee plans to take to better utilize the Portage River while generating revenue for downtown businesses. "The idea is to attract large groups of recreational boaters, personal watercraft owners and even snowmobilers to our downtown district and encourage them to spend their dollars here,” said Shadoan.
One such group, the Sea Doo'ers, a personal watercraft membership club comprised mostly of senior citizens out of Catawba Island, recently returned to the Oak Harbor waterfront on some 24 Jet Skis to enjoy a late lunch at the Beekeeper Inn. Richard Novak, organizing head of the group, said the reaction to the Oak Harbor cruises has been very positive.
According to Mr. Novak, the Portage River is an ideal destination to run on Jet Skis due to calm waters and beautiful scenery. "The dock at Oak Harbor has made it a destination for Jet Skiers and small craft. The town's hospitality is outstanding and the Beekeeper Inn and the Happy Hour bar are truly fun and have great food,” said Novak.
Personal watercraft and shallow draft boats are welcome to utilize the dock, located behind US Bank off of Mill Street, from Memorial Day to Labor Day at no charge. The Veteran's Memorial Bridge (Route 19) has an air draft of 10 feet while the Portage River channel is approximately 5 feet deep depending on water levels.