By Nancy Allen
State officials are moving forward with a study looking at the possibility of building a lodge on Grand Lake St. Marys.
The public can learn more about the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' feasibility study on lake lodges during a press conference on June 3 at Wright State University-Lake Campus.
Members of the Lake Development Corporation (LDC) learned of the press conference during their regular meeting Monday. The LDC's annual Legislative Day on the Lake also will take place the same day, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
For the last two years, officials from the area, state and Collaborative Inc., Toledo -- the firm hired to create and complete the study -- have been meeting to create the study and determine how it would be conducted. The study would become the state model for determining the feasibility of building lodges in Ohio.
The study ultimately would become the test that all future lodge proposals will have to pass to gain state support. The private LDC and Wright State University-Lake Campus officials in 1999 unveiled a plan to build a proposed $12.4 million lakefront lodge and boat marina on a 15-acre site next to the campus, proposing that the state pay for the lodge. A partnership with state officials to build and operate a lodge also has been discussed.
The Lake Campus location was later nixed after campus officials announced they wanted to possibly build residential housing there.
LDC officials however say they have identified several sites around the lake to build a lodge, which also would be used as a resort and conference facility to draw people to the area during the off months of November through March.
"We've completed two years of study and already surveyed the 74 state parks in Ohio based on the descriptive survey that was developed by the Toledo consulting group and ODNR," said Lake Campus Associate Dean Greg Schumm. "The feasibility study is expected to begin the next day on June 4."
Schumm said the study will take about a year to complete.