The City of Vermilion together with Western Reserve Land Conservancy has released a rendering of a revitalized Main Street Beach. The plans include a significantly expanded beachfront, increased greenspace and public amenities, and ADA accessible paths to make Main Street Beach more convenient and enjoyable for residents and tourists alike.
“We have worked for years on a plan to showcase Vermilion’s stunning natural assets,” said Vermilion Mayor Jim Forthofer. “I believe we have an approach that will best serve our residents and enhance the quality of life in our community. Vermilion was founded on its relationship with the lake. This project will give Vermilion a lakefront it can be proud of for generations.”
The City of Vermilion has partnered with the Land Conservancy on the project to acquire and protect beach property with conservation easements to ensure this community asset will be conserved for passive recreation forever. The project will make room for additional public access, trail connectivity and increased greenspace for picnicking, reading, dog walking, birdwatching and more. The rendering also includes a canoe/kayak launch and the designated ADA accessible beach mat from the street along with plans for a new community pavilion and a comfort station with restrooms and changing areas.
“The City’s vision for this property will offer the community so many great benefits and forever protects the public’s access to one of Vermilion’s most treasured resources,” said Andy McDowell, Vice President of Western Field Operations at Western Reserve Land Conservancy. “Western Reserve Land Conservancy is proud to partner with the City of Vermilion on the improvement and expansion of the beautiful and resourceful lakefront property at Vermilion’s Main Street Beach.”
Many community members have been engaged with the lakefront’s future after the Inland Seas Museum, housed in Harbor View Mansion and situated centrally on the property, closed in 2011 and has sat vacant since.
“My wife, Dana, and I believe in the protection of public land to benefit the people of our community,” said Peter Corogin, a Vermilion resident of more than four decades who, along with his wife, raised two sons in the community and served on the Board of the Vermilion Port Authority for more than 15 years. “The Main Street Beach project preserves and enhances access to Lake Erie and incorporates amenities such as new restrooms to serve residents and visitors.”
The Main Street Area Revitalization project is working to capture pieces of Harbor View Mansion into historical markers, signage and other aesthetics throughout the new design. The City spent a decade exhausting attempts to salvage the structure. However, working together with professional contractors, architects and engineers, a study commissioned in 2017 estimated a cost of as much as $5.5. million to remove asbestos and rehabilitate the building— a budget-restrictive figure that has likely only increased in the last three years.
“I’d like nothing more than to save the old museum,” said Mayor Forthofer. “Moving on without the building won’t cause us to forget the past, it will give us an opportunity to make a better future for Vermilion.”
The Land Conservancy and the City of Vermilion are hoping to complete the project by Fall 2022.