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Published: Saturday, 7/10/2010

Middle Bass Island dedicates $11.4M marina expansion

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

MIDDLE BASS ISLAND, Ohio - Officials on Friday dedicated the $11.4 million expansion of Middle Bass Island State Park marina, a project that got under way in January, 2001.

Among those recognized was Mr. Logan's predecessor, former ODNR director, Sam Speck, who oversaw much of the work while at the agency's helm from 1998 to 2006.

Mr. Speck, a Republican, is a former Ohio Statehouse member and former Muskingum College president who was appointed by former President George W. Bush to the International Joint Commission's governing board. The commission is a State Department-level agency that has negotiated boundary water issues affecting the United States and Canada since 1909.

The Middle Bass project included the construction of 50 additional boat docks, some temporary and some permanent. A 20-site primitive campground was built on the island in 2006, the state DNR said.

In 2008, a large-scale marina entrance and basin-improvement project was completed. That included reshaping the marina basin, building a new entrance channel and revetments (usually masonry that supports embankments), and installing floating dock anchorage piling. The floating docks were completed last year, bringing the total number of docks to 264. A 100,000-gallon elevated water storage tank has been installed, as have water and sewer lines, the state agency said.

This summer, staff housing - along with a permanent shower and restroom building - is to be built. Improvements are expected for the marina office and harbormaster building. Much of the work is being guided by a long-range master plan that was developed for the marina, the agency said.

State Rep. Dennis Murray (D., Sandusky) was among the dignitaries at yesterday's event, as was Ohio State Parks acting chief John Hunter and Ohio DNR Division of Watercraft chief Pam Dillon. Jim Hodgson, chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's wildlife and sports fish restoration program, also was there, the Ohio DNR said.

In addition to launching the Middle Bass marina project in 2001, the state paid $6.75 million for 124 acres on the island that year. The purchase included the former Lonz Winery.

The purchase was among more than $35 million of Lake Erie land acquisitions made by the former Taft administration. In 2004, the state paid $17.4 million to buy 589 of the 676 acres on North Bass Island, or 87 percent of the island.

Those acquisitions, along with the marina project, have been conceptually linked by the state into a single entity called Lake Erie Islands State Park, which includes portions of North, Middle, South Bass, Kelleys, and Catawba islands.

Contact Tom Henry at:

thenry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6079.



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