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.