LORAIN — The Lorain Rotary Club and Polish Fishermen’s Club are looking to make Lorain a destination for visitors one sunset at a time.
At a meeting for City Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee on Monday night, the two organizations presented their plans for a “sunset pier” on the west end of Lakeview Park that would be ready in 2020.
Rotary Club representative Rob Levit said the project was picked back up about 2ﾽ years ago after the Polish Fishermen’s Club initially introduced it almost 17 years ago, but financial hardships in the city hurt its viability.
“The idea is to create an attraction or destination for things like weddings and festivals,” he said. “There isn’t anything on the table that is anything like this degree without being exorbitant, and there isn’t anything like it on the north coast of Ohio. It’s for citizens to see the great asset in this city. We’ll have a destination in the most beautiful sunset pier in the state. It’ll spur interest in the area.”
Levit said right now, the clubs are just looking to get a letter of support from City Council to add to its collection featuring Mayor Chase Ritenauer, county commissioners, Lorain County Metro Parks, county Chamber of Commerce, Lorain Lighthouse Foundation, Lorain Port Authority, state Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain and state Sen. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville.
The project is expected to cost $12 million, but a large portion of that is expected to be paid with grants from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio EPA and other government agencies.
Former city Auditor and Rotary member Ron Mantini said the project could possibly benefit from federal Community Development Block Grant funds, but it would depend on if the project is eligible and the availability of the funds.
Once the 800-foot pier is built, access is expected to cost $1 per person to pay for maintenance and upkeep, which will be provided by Lorain County Metro Parks, which maintains Lakeview Park.
The clubs paid $15,000 to KS Associates to develop the plans and engineering scope and one of their architects, Gary Fischer, said, the pier will act as a dual observation deck and fishing pier with a covered pavilion on the end.
Fischer said the pier’s design will allow it to avoid ice and wave damage and have fish habitats at the base in order to solidify it as a good fishing spot.
City Councilman Mitch Fallis, D-at large, said he thought the pier, which would be able to hold up to 2,000 people to view the city’s picturesque sunsets, was a “big and bold” idea.
“It’s a grand project and vision,” Fallis said. “It would put Lorain on the national map, so we will do what we can to pursue their request.”