Construction Resumes on the Harbor and Marina at Middle Bass Island State Park

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Steps taken to protect Lake Erie water snakes living in the area

COLUMBUS, OH – Springtime brought the return of construction workers to the harbor basin at Middle Bass Island State Park in Lake Erie. Closed since October 1, the harbor is slated to undergo $4 million in renovations before reopening to boaters in the 2009 recreational season.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” said Dan West, chief of Ohio State Parks. “But we are doing our best to minimize the time the marina basin is closed to the public.”

Currently, workers are clearing brush and constructing a fence around the site to keep local populations of the federally protected Lake Erie water snake out of harm’s way. Snakes trapped within the construction area will be relocated before any earthwork begins.

A master plan for redeveloping the area includes an expanded and reconfigured harbor with up to 340 boat slips, a boat launch ramp, a new entrance channel from the lake and other recreational amenities. Both state and federal money will fund the project.

“All projects have a budget,” West said. “And projects of this magnitude can only be completed in phases. We’re taking it a step at a time as we build this marina.”

About 250 docks are expected to be operation sometime in the 2009 season. Periodic construction “open houses” will be scheduled for island residents and others through the upcoming summer. A Web site will be available beginning June 15 at ohiostateparks.org. that will allow users to follow the progress of the Middle Bass Island project. Visitors are encouraged to check the Web site or call the park office at 419-797-4530 for information.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources purchased 124 acres at the southern tip of Middle Bass Island in 2001 for $6.75 million and announced plans to construct a state park on the site. The property included a mile of natural shoreline, a protected marina, important geological and natural features and buildings that once housed the Lonz Winery. The state purchased an additional 17.5 acres adjoining the harbor area in 2004.