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Beginning of the State Park (Lonz) Marina Renovation

October 4, 2007

Click for Photos from Sept. 30, 2007, the Last Day of Operation of the Old Marina



The renovation of the Middle Bass Island State Park Marina, which will include all of the former Lonz Marina, Roesch's Marina and Middle Bass Island Yacht Club areas when it is completed, has started. Scott Doty, Regional Manager with ODNR, had reported that the marina was to be closed on October 1, 2007. Jim Roesch later told his marina customers that their boats had to be out by October 2.


Hoffman (the same firm from Chardon, OH that renovated the main dock a few years ago) and crew arrived at the State Park Marina about 3:30 PM Thursday Oct. 4, 2007 and went right to work. Four pictures from the first day of work are below.


The bow of the boat being loaded onto the barge at Lonz's Marina is the bow of the barge Erie Isle (also referred to as the Erie Isle 1, Built in 1894 by Neafir & Levy and originally called the Frederica or Fredricka. She was sold to the Erie Isle Ferry Company of Put-in-Bay in April 1930 and re-named Erie Isle, and made her last trip as a ferry on October 21, 1941. She lay idle in Sandusky and was then was bought by George Lonz and shortened by Miller & Madre for use as a barge. This is not the Erie Isle 2 ferry that ran between Port Clinton, PIB and MB starting in 1951. This second Erie Isle was christened by Miss Mary Ann Schneider of Middle Bass Island on Monday, August 20, 1951 in Cleveland). The bow of the Erie Isle 1 was put there by Wilbur "Sonny" Dodge of South Bass Island. Sonny worked on the Erie Isle and lived in the Dodge House (between the Put-in-Bay Yacht Club and the Crew's Nest). The first Erie Isle carried coal from Sandusky to PIB to heat the homes on the island. It was decommissioned in the early 1950s and Sonny cut off the bow and set it next to Lonz's marina entrance. Not a small task in those days. It's too bad that it could not be saved and put it on the new marina grounds as a part of island history.


By October 7, the entrance to the marina was about 75% closed off. On the evening of the 7th, a massive fire was burning on the old Lonz property east and southeast of the schoolhouse to get rid of the brush from clearing the area. The cleared area should not be visible from the main road, but will contain all the dirt being excavated from the marina. The road entrance to the new landfill is about 75 feet north of the entrance to St. Hazards.


This fall, it is expected that the entrance will be closed and that some preliminary work will be done in the area closest to St. Hazard's resort. This will include some land clearing for the construction of a vernal pool. It will also include some preliminary work related to the clearing of some brush to establish a snake barrier (fence) next spring around the marina construction area.


Doty said "I realize this is not going to be an easy change to our marina users, but I encourage everyone to look at the long-term benefits and not just the short-term inconveniences. The marina basin is scheduled to be reopened the boating season of 2009. I will keep you informed as the project progresses." And the inconveniences are great. It may be the first time in U.S. history that a state government has shut down marinas carrying about 50% of an island's resident traffic and 100% of its transient traffic. The commercial ferries are unaffected, however.


There have been two artificial snake "hibernacula" built on Middle Bass so scientists can hopefully study whether snakes displaced during the expansion project will use them. Kristen Stanford, our Lake Erie Snake Lady, estimates that more than 200 water snaked will be left homeless during the marina expansion project, but not all of them will be using the two artificial hibernacula. In past studies, the water snake has been shown to its own hibernaculum each winter, so the problem of getting them to switch during construction is the problem.


This winter, the snakes will be left alone and will winter around the construction project, but once the water is drained in the spring, the snakes will be collected and relocated outside a snake barrier which will keep them from returning to the marina construction area.


Engineers working on the project told us that if it weren't for the snakes having to hibernate, construction would continue all winter and the marina would be ready in the spring.



The bow off the old boat on the shoreline is being loaded on a barge.







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