Lake Erie Shores & Islands, the destination marketing organization for Ottawa and Erie counties, has opened its new welcome center in downtown Sandusky.
The new offices are at 125 E. Water St., one block from the shore of Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie. The welcome center occupies the first and second floors of the historic Biemiller building, which first opened in 1866. Its original occupants were members of the German Turnverein Association, which promoted gymnastics, athletics, and German culture and language. Over the years, two different hotels operated there and most recently, the Volunteers of America used the building until 1989, after which it remained vacant for more than 30 years.
Lake Erie Shores and Islands President Larry Fletcher said “the Shores and Islands staff team and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this historic space back to life as we become part of the ongoing growth of Sandusky. Many thanks to our board, city officials, the developer’s representative Bob Hare, and many others for their work to bring this project to fruition.”
The building was purchased and renovated by a local development group, Renaissance Too. Renovation work was set back considerably in July of 2018 when strong winds blew the roof off the building. Fortunately, no one was injured, but construction work ended up being more extensive than originally planned. After two years of renovation and construction, the building is ready to once again be a vital part of the community. In addition to Lake Erie Shores & Islands, the upper levels will be used for residential living.
“While we’re all dealing with a very difficult time at present, we know better days will come and are thrilled to have Shores and Islands with its broad regional perspective make downtown Sandusky their Erie County home, and look forward to continued partnership in the years ahead,” said Sandusky City Manager Eric Wobser.
The welcome center will be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. through the end of August. Check online at SHORESandISLANDS.com for current operating hours. Lake Erie Shores & Islands has a welcome center on State Route 53 in Port Clinton. The welcome centers offer area travel information, maps, brochures, and valuable discount offers.