By Tim Cox
Celina officials are hoping a grant through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft will help pay for the installation of 30 new courtesy boat docks along the north shore of Grand Lake.
City council members unanimously approved applying for $239,000 that would pay for the entire project, including design. Before the application is filed, city officials plan to check with organizers of the Governor's Cup Regatta races to make sure the new docks won't interfere with staging the event.
The project also would repair or replace the existing boat docks located in the northwest corner of the lake behind the rock jetty along Lake Shore Drive.
The grant application easily won support from council members because no local contribution of tax dollars is required. Engineering and other project-related costs has been a sticking point with some council members on recent grant-funded projects.
Some council members took the opportunity to discuss other boating-related issues, including the emergency boathouse and rental docks located at Mercelina Park. City officials have been looking for assistance in replacing the boathouse where the boat maintained by the Mercer County Sheriff's Office is kept. The boat is frequently used by the city fire department for training.
The grant cannot be used to replace the boathouse because the fund is intended to promote public boating, city development consultant Kent Bryan said.
Councilman Ed Jeffries said some of the docks at the hot water hole need repaired. The grant also will not cover that work.
"If we're going to rent them, we have an obligation to make them safe," Councilman June Scott said.
Although the boat dock grant includes no local matching requirement, city officials plan to use restrooms and other park improvements as leverage to help influence the grant application, Bryan said.