Untraditional Coal & Ice Plans Will Bring Quirky, Artistic, Fun To Downtown Vermilion


At the Historic Vermilion Design Review Board Meeting on March 4, 2020, local business owner Dan Roth presented the board with an artist rendering of a 4x4 free-standing sign they would like to put up at the property at 5693 Liberty Anvenue. The colors include red, sandblasted wood, raised white letters, black border on the Coal and Ice, and black lettering for gourmet dogs and ice cream.

The business owners are considering calling the gourmet hotdogs and ice cream business “Coal and Ice”.  The building was originally called the Coal and Ice Weigh Station.

Roth said they had also considered putting a sign on the top façade of the building, but they didn’t know if it would really show. He said on the east side of the building, towards the street, there is a section that he would like to mount a 3x4 old town hotdog advertisement sign with lighting washing down on it.

Roth said he is projecting to open his business by the middle or end of May. They are teaming up with the Pavilion Grill, who will handle the food end of this, while he will continue to build and work more on the site.

Roth's wife, Laura Roth, called it ‘Dannyland’. Board Member Marilou Suszko told the board to look up ‘Randyland’, as it’s a place in Pittsburgh where Randy bought a piece of property in a neighborhood that was distressed. He spent years and not much money creating what is now known as ‘Randyland’. People from all over the world come to see it because it’s artistic, creative, and filled with color. It’s out of character for the neighborhood, but it totally fits.

Suszko said she had to abstain from any vote on this application because she is working with the Roth’s to get some money to provide for signage and other things.

“But when you look at what Dan Roth is doing, it’s a real departure from what you see downtown traditionally, but it totally fits because you’re talking about nostalgia and Vermilion’s modern history that a lot of them will recognize,” said Suszko. “I expect it to be a place that when you look at this you feel good about this when you come into town. The signage is different, it’s fun, it’s a little quirky, and I’m real anxious to see how this all plays out.”

Suszko said it goes against the traditional architecture and setup, but it fits.

Roth said they used to visit Geneva on the Lake and it has that old summer town amusement park feel, and this is sort of what he is shooting for. He wants it to be a roadside tourist attraction. Board Member Robbie Brown told him that she loves that he preserved the Hull building.

Roth said along the back boundary of the property he plans to take down the neighbor’s lower fence and move it forward in front of her house. He will have it repainted, and then he wants to put a taller 6’ wood white fence (6x8 panels mounted on 4x4 posts) against the back of the property from Baker’s building to the start of her house. It gives the neighbor more privacy, and makes their property a little more attractive.

Roth would like to do a mural on the fence with light gray silhouettes of people. He would like to incorporate Crystal Beach and Kishman Fish.

He said they may need a small accessory building for additional storage, so he would do it in red with the Kishman Fish writing on it to make it look like one of the old fish barns.

Suszko liked the idea of a tone on tone thing, but felt it looked like the Main Street Vermilion Postcard Project. So, when he gets to that point, she would like to make sure they are not repeating each other.

Roth said if the board thinks it’s too busy, then he doesn’t have to do this. Suszko didn’t feel it was too busy, but she wants to make sure they’re not repeating an image. Brown said the postcards are all selected, so Dan could see what they’re using.

Roth said this is something that can be done years later too. Brown thought it was cute and fitting, and liked that they’re putting up a fence to separate the house.

Roth said he would also like to put a gemstone mining setup on the property. This would be a free-standing structure.  Gwen Fisher, Certified Municipal Clerk, asked him to check with the building inspector on this. Board Member Brenda Miklos said he might not want to overwhelm his building. Roth asked for the boards opinion, but felt he didn’t need approval from the building department because it’s free-standing.

Roth said he doesn’t have a picture of the additional structure, but it will be a small utility building painted red with the Kishman writing on it.

Brown asked if they are building the restrooms and Roth said yes. Laura Roth explained it’s an outhouse; everything has been thought out, and it will be cute.

The board approved the signage on the east side of the building as presented, the 6’ white wood fence as presented, and the Coal and Ice free-standing sign as presented.

Roth noted he has to put the outhouse on a separate foundation, which will be 3’ away from the Coal and Ice building. It was noted the outhouse design was discussed and approved at a prior meeting.

Roth also showed the board an artist rendering of another possible idea of putting a 1950 fire truck on the property, which will have a stage for live music. The truck will be fenced in so people can’t climb on the truck.

Brown said it’s hard to vision it until she can see everything else on the lot. Roth said this is an idea for the future, but he knows it will all fit and work together.