Posted on January 7, 2021
Vermilion City Council voted during a Jan. 4 meeting to support the Main Street Beach revitalization project, which aims to make the city’s lakefront more accessible with a comfort station, more parking and improved greenery space.
All Council members, except Ward 4 Councilwoman Barb Brady, voted to suspend the rules and pass the resolution on the first reading.
The city has worked with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy on the project for about a decade, which applauded Council’s decision in a news release.
“This project has been years in the making, and we are excited to see the support from the City Council, the mayor, and many Vermilion residents who are eager to implement plans for the revitalization of Main Street Beach,” said Andy McDowell, vice president of western field operations for Western Reserve Land Conservancy, in the release. “Collaboration and partnership have moved this project forward, and we are very excited to see our collective vision for the Main Street Beach become reality.”
Currently, the project calls for the demolition of the Wakefield Mansion and its Inland Seas Maritime Museum addition, which a handful of residents have voiced their objection.
Georgianne Tarrant, of Vermilion, wrote and submitted a letter to Council representing the Concerned Citizens to Save Harbourview, which was read during the meeting by Council President Steve Herron.
Tarrant stated in the letter that the volunteer group has worked with Preservation Ohio to figure out a way to restore and repurpose the building to avoid its demolition.
“We want to help the city turn the Main Street Beach project into a first rate attraction,” she wrote.
The Concerned Citizens group also submitted a proposal for the building as a starting point of collaboration with the city and other local groups.
Marian Vance, president of Preservation Ohio’s board and director of development, also spoke during the meeting to advocate for the mansion.
Vance said she drove past the building a few weeks ago and found it breath-taking.
“I’m encouraging you to think very carefully before you allow a demolition to take away that significant building that’s on that street in Vermilion,” she said. “It’s obviously built in a time that beautiful homes were built to signify who was living there.”
Vance said in relation to other restoration projects Preservation Ohio has worked on, the mansion is in good shape.
“It has some mold issues, it has some asbestos issues, but all of that is remedial,” she said.