Property donation changes Fireman’s Beach revitalization project

Conneaut Lake council takes time to study property donated to aid Fireman’s Beach revitalization project

By Jean Shanley

Meadville Tribune
Aug 12, 2016

CONNEAUT LAKE — Conneaut Lake Borough Council will resume its August meeting on Monday at 7 p.m. to reconsider a vote regarding the Fireman’s Beach revitalization project.

Bill Eldridge, chairman of the Conneaut Lake Community Development Committee and a member of borough council, asked other council members to approve a letter this week to be sent to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources regarding a change in the proposed scope of the project and the acceptance of a donated property valued at $250,000 as part of the match for the grant the state has given the borough.

However, other council members wanted more time to study the issue before signing the letter.

After a somewhat heated exchange and a long period of discussion, council voted 3-2 not to send the letter until council members had an opportunity to review it further.

Noting the need for quick action, an obviously frustrated Eldridge asked council to “trust me” on this to allow the letter to be sent because the person who must approve it was going on vacation for two weeks.

However, council members still wanted time to review the changes. They pointed out that they had heard nothing about the proposed donation or proposed changes in the project until the meeting Wednesday, reminding Eldridge that he could have sent them information before the meeting.

Eldridge responded that all of the work with the proposed projects is very fast paced and those proposed changes all took place within the last week after Bob Moss became aware of the need for more funding and made the property donation.

Eldridge said nothing more could be done until state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources approves the request for changing the scope of the project and DCNR cannot do that until council seeks that approval. The scope of the project is being scaled back because not all the funding was received that is needed for the project as previously planned.

Council members praised Eldridge for all his work on the project, but reminded him that while he knows all the answers, they do not and they believe they must study the issue.

Dick Holabaugh, council president, said the proposed donation from Bob and Kathy Moss was “unbelievably generous” and is very much appreciated. He said, “We need to find a way to accept it as soon as possible.”

The land is a strip of property on which people walk to get from Fireman’s Beach to Ice House Park. They previously had agreed on an easement for the property to be used for the project.

With Holabaugh, Chuey and Krepps voting not to send the letter, the decision was made to discuss it again when the meeting resumes Monday.

Council member Penny Monihan voted to send the letter. Council members Billy Paris and Dwight Stallard were not at the meeting.