Agency Aids Port Clinton in Protecting
Published June 21, 2006
PORT CLINTON - A national nonprofit agency that helps
communities find money to develop parks and green space
is working with Port Clinton to buy nearly four acres
along the Lake Erie shore.
The proposal for the Port Clinton Lakeshore Preserve,
to be announced today, is designed to protect the wetlands
and prevent development along the lake.
Most of the land, valued at $1.4 million, is owned by
the True family trust or by family members who have moved
It stretches from Water Works Park at the mouth of the
Portage River east to the municipal Water's Edge Beach.
Alison Falls, an advisory board member for the Trust
for Public Lands' Ohio office, said yesterday that when
the new property is connected to land the city now owns,
it will offer a mile of beach access.
"This may be one of the longest stretches of public
access along Lake Erie," said Ms. Falls, a Catawaba
Island resident who has served as a catalyst for the proposed
The Trust for Public Lands helps communities and government
agencies find money and grants that might be used to protect
that land. It helps complete the transaction by optioning
or purchasing a property temporarily until it can be permanently
protected by a government or community land trust.
In the case of the Port Clinton proposal, the Trust for
Public Lands will hold an option for a year while the
city seeks the funds.
"The community really needs to come together and
support this," Ms. Falls said.
Complicating the proposal are nearly two dozen property
owners on the south side of Perry Street, which parallels
Those homes have property-leaseholders' agreements that
grant them property rights to the beach.
Linda Hartlaub, president of city council, said the Trust
is negotiating with them, although the Perry Street property
owners have not signed anything.
Ms. Hartlaub, who guided the project through city council,
said the project will fulfill a goal to keep development
off the beach.
"We're looking to restore the wetlands to a natural
state," she said.
Christopher Knopf, the Ohio director for the Trust for
Public Lands, said the agency has helped the state to
preserve 9,500 acres in the last 30 years.
The biggest project, 1,300 acres, was set aside three
years ago along Sandusky Bay.
He said Ms. Falls approached him about the issue and
noted that the potential sale of the property was generally
well-known in the community. He said the agency has a
letter of intent from the family and the True trust.
"I saw a great opportunity," Ms. Falls said.
"But it is a complex transaction that's going to
take imagination and patience."
Deed restrictions will be incorporated into the transaction
that will prevent any type of development.
The agency will work with Port Clinton to find sources
of money. The Trust for Public Land is supported by individuals,
foundations, and businesses.
"At some point the ball is handed over, so to speak,
to a citizens advisory committee," Mr. Knopf said.