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Rising tide raises all boats

There seems to be two perspectives regarding the Waterworks Park project: a group that wants to live in the present status quo of what IS and those, who want to preserve that status quo, and embrace the future with a vision of what COULD BE.

The former group, with all good intentions, wants to preserve what their hard work and experiences have brought them. While the latter group wants to build on that heritage and at the same time create a new life of abundant possibilities for themselves and their families.

Tourism and technology are among the largest and fastest growing industries on earth; both offering almost incalculable possibilities and unlimited opportunities. The $60,000,000 vision presented by Mr. Rose and his team and overwhelmingly endorsed by the city council has no doubt caused the citizens of Port Clinton to rethink their priorities.

For those who feel we will be “paving paradise and putting up a parking lot” we say quit “sitting on the dock of the bay wastin’ time.” I’ve heard that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer; while this may be true elsewhere in the world, it certainly isn’t true in America. After all, living at the lake it should be obvious that a rising tide raises all boats.

Lurking in the aforementioned lament that the poor get poorer lays the stuff of fear… and as we all know fear builds walls, not bridges. Let us, in the spirit of Ronald Regan tear down the wall of fear and start building a bridge to the abundant possibilities that await our future and the future of those coming after us.

May all who come behind us find us faithful.

Bill and Claudia O’Donnell
Catawba Island

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Residents overwhelmingly in favor of development

From Sunday, March 23 at 6 p.m. to Tuesday, March 25 at 8 a.m. the Beacon conducted a survey concerning the development of Waterworks Park and the revitalization of downtown Port Clinton. Representatives of the Beacon were sent also into the community to personally ask people’s opinions and have then take the survey on Monday, March 24 during the day. Representatives went to the Sutton Center, Madison Street and Second Street.

367 people responded to the survey; 63 people were personally polled in the community. When participants were asked if they were for or against the development of Waterworks Park 84% (303) answered they were in favor and 16% (50) said they were against development. When polled about the revitalization of downtown Port Clinton, participants answered 99% (361) in favor of revitalization and 1% (3) against.

The survey, which was a short 6 questions, was designed to be short and straight to the point. There are a lot of different opinions on how and what to do with the development, but, as the survey states, the people of the area want SOMETHING done.

In a further break down of the question, participants were asked what their thoughts were on the development and revitalization: yes please go forward, leaning yes but would like more information, no opinion, leaning no but want more information and absolutely not.

Of the 367 surveyed about their thoughts on the development of Waterworks Park:

•241 said yes please go forward
•71 said they were leaning yes but wanted more information
•3 said no opinion
•23 said they were leaning no but wanted more information
•29 said they no absolutely not

Of the 367 surveyed about their thoughts on the revitalization of downtown Port Clinton:

•299 said yes please go forward
•63 said they were leaning yes but wanted more information
•3 said no opinion
•1 said they were leaning no but wanted more information
•1 said no absolutely not

Those surveyed in age were: 3% 18-24, 19% 25-34, 23% 35-44, 20% 45-54, 21% 65-74, 12% 65-74 and 1% 75 or older.

The survey was also given to Port Clinton High School students in Mr. Scalf’s Social Studies classes. The answers of the students varied from those in the community, but still had the same end result. In regards to the development of Waterworks Park: 69% of students voted they were for development, 2% had no opinion and 29% were against. When polled about the revitalization of downtown Port Clinton: 89% of students were for revitalization, 1% had no opinion and 10% were against.

 

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Waterworks Park and agriculture run off big topics at Redfern town hall meeting

Redfern speaking at a previous town hall meeting.

On March 17 at 10 a.m. Ohio State Representative Chris Redfern held a bi-monthly town meeting at the Ida Rupp Public Library. Two Port Clinton city council members, a Portage Township trustee, and a school superintendent and treasurer were just a few people in attendance at the open forum meeting.

The first topic for discussion, a widely known hot topic for Port Clinton residents, was Waterworks Park and the development of that area. Redfern said that he and Senator Randy Gardner have had discussions about the project and they agree that something needs to be done to further the future of Port Clinton just as surrounding places such as Huron and Sandusky have done.

“We are here to help you with what you need,” said Redfern. “There are programs out there to help fund these projects. We are here to back you.”

Redfern did heed a warning about the project, though.

“If we apply, we ought not to walk it back,” said Redfern. “We might not get a third of forth chance at this.” He continued, “Personal feelings aside, you went before and got this money and then didn’t use it. If you go back again, you better have your act together.”

Another hot topic and growing concern was discussed; agricultural runoff. Redfern said that next week the house is voting on legislation that would strengthen the Department of Agriculture and farmers’ relationship towards education. Anyone who purchases fertilizer in bulk will have to go through an education program.

“This will not change overnight,” said Redfern. “The Lake Erie watershed is thousands of square miles, it will take time. There are 300 different types of soil in Ohio. Each ditch, every tributary needs to be treated with the upmost importance. Lake Erie doesn’t just begin down the river in Oak Harbor, it starts at the watershed: Upper Sandusky, Canton, etc. Everything north from the watershed flows into the lake.”

The controversial wind turbines along the lake shore were another topic on the table. A resident brought up that the guidelines for citing of wind turbines are voluntary. She wanted to know what action could be taken to make these guidelines universal across the board so this kind of situation can’t happen. 

“The project has been halted,” said Redfern, “because not only the state government but, more importantly, the federal government spoke up saying that the turbines could hurt protected species.”

There was also discussion about the projected Canadian nuclear waste site along the shores of the Great Lakes. The resident who brought up the topic also pointed out that a crack was found in the concrete of the reactor. She said that the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) was not holding a public meeting about the subject and she just wanted to keep the Great Lakes free of nuclear waste.

“I can see no reason why FirstEnergy or anyone wouldn’t want to have a public meeting on the subject,” said Redfern.

The resident reminded those in attendance that the NRC takes calls from citizens suggesting they have a public meeting.

The last subject discussed at the meeting was Common Core in schools. Common Core is the guidelines every school has to follow to ensure students are all reaching the curriculum suggested for their grade level.

The discussion led to the conclusion that maybe the one test standard isn’t the best way to judge a student or a school’s accomplishments.

“We should be able to question authority,” said Redfern. “I am worried about support for teachers… and not financial support.”

Other topics briefly discussed were state taxes, Ohio’s Sunshine Law, widening State Route 2 between Camp Perry and Toledo and the condition of the viaducts under the railroad tracks in town.

Chris Redfern holds town meetings throughout his districts, Erie and Ottawa Counties, so he can listen to constituents’’ ideas, questions and concerns.

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