By Brian Massie, Citizen Journalist
Hold on to your wallets, here comes another government project to rival the infamous “Better Flip” project in Willowick a few years ago. We coined it the “Better Flop” because the Lake County Port Authority, under the direction of Commissioners Cirino, and Hamercheck , estimated the cost to be $150,000 to stay under the competitive bidding rules, but it cost $299,000 to refurbish a Willowick bungalow. (By the way, it is a VERY nice bungalow.)
We now present the proposed Grand River Valley arch, the “Gateway” to the Lake and Ashtabula wine country. The photo gallery below shows four possible arch designs that are in play.
A County official indicated to us that they are in the very preliminary stages of the project that has be contemplated for many years. They would like to have the arch straddle a major highway leading into the wine country, but will need approval from the Ohio Department of Transportation – no easy feat!
Lake County Clerk of Courts, Faith Andrews, has agreed to fund the project and a $275,000 transfer will be made from the Clerk’s Title Fund to the County General Fund, where the Commissioners will write a check to the Lake County Visitors Bureau, an independent 501 (c) (6) non-profit.
The Visitors Bureau is not subject to public scrutiny under the Ohio’s Sunshine Laws. They are not required to have open meetings, or abide by the Public Records Requests even though they receive $1 million annually from the public.
Commissioners John Plecnik and Rich Regovich voted to accept the transfer from the Clerk’s fund and write a check to the Visitors Bureau. Commissioner John Hamercheck wisely voted against this frivolous use of taxpayers’ money. We need money for a jail, increased wages for the Sheriff’s department, but we think an arch is more important.
If there were any wagering permitted on the project costing in excess of $275,000, our money would be placed on the “over” bet. We love betting on a sure thing.
Commissioner Plecnik is going to ensure that the project costs do not escalate. Well, Commissioner Plecnik, just to let you and Clerk Andrews, and her new found friends at the Visitors Bureau know, we will be watching this project very closely.