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Published: Monday, 8/11/2003

Cedar Point plans to buy Sandusky marina

SANDUSKY - In its continuing effort to entice visitors to spend more than a day at the amusement park, Cedar Point has announced plans to buy the Harbour Marina on Sandusky Bay.

The 280-slip marina is near the TGIFriday's restaurant and Radisson hotel Cedar Point owns. Cedar Point has proposed converting the site into a year-round family resort with an indoor water park.

Officials would not disclose the purchase price of the marina.

Sandusky City Council is expected to consider a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement for the $20 million water park project when it meets today. Cedar Point officials say they need the tax break to make the project work.

“We consider the tax abatement vital for the indoor water park resort project,” said park spokesman Janice Witherow. “Without it, the financial feasibility would be seriously compromised.”

In the meantime, it expects to acquire the Harbour Marina from Hoty Marine Group by the end of the month. The marina has restroom, shower, and laundry facilities and a heated swimming pool.

It would be the second marina Cedar Point owns. The 665-slip Cedar Point Marina “is very popular. It's one of the largest on the Great Lakes,” Ms. Witherow said.

Boaters can buy dock passes for the year, and Cedar Point also keeps boat slips open for daily rentals. Dockholders get a variety of discounts and services, which will be extended to the Harbour Marina as well.

“We just felt it made sense” to buy Harbour Marina, Ms. Witherow said. “We are already in the marina business, and it is a big business on Lake Erie.”

She said the acquisition also is in line with the park's long-term goal of attracting visitors who want to stay more than a day at Cedar Point.

“We've really been concentrated in the last 10 years on growing Cedar Point into a resort destination rather than just a regional amusement park,” Ms. Witherow said. “We're trying to grow the average length of stay at Cedar Point. ... so visitors are staying overnight, and they may go to Cedar Point one or two days and also go to Soak City Water Park or the beach.”

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