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Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

Developer moves ahead with lake project

Agreement reached with ODNR officials

By William Kincaid
CELINA - A developer says he is proceeding with his proposed condominium/hotel-style resort along West Bank Road after agreeing to Ohio Department of Natural Resources recommendations.
William Edmonds of Lakefront Maritime Developers, who moved to Celina last summer to be closer to his project, told the newspaper he recently secured ODNR clearance to construct The Boardwalk near the spillway. He hopes to break ground this year and said the resort should open in the fall of 2017.
Edmonds on July 15 will begin taking reservations for condominiums and retail space at The Boardwalk.
ODNR spokesman Matt Eiselstein this week confirmed the agency's involvement in the project.
"ODNR did review the plans for the development in order to ensure that it complied with dam safety standards," Eiselstein wrote in an email. "That review led to recommendations being made regarding the position of the development and helping ensure that it did not impact the toe or downstream slope of the dam."
   ODNR's recommendations were accepted, he said.
"The company is still required to get all the required permits to proceed but those do not involve ODNR approval," Eiselstein continued.
James Edmonds further explained ODNR's concerns about developing near a 100-year-old dam.
"They want to have direct access to the toe of the dam, and they didn't want us to go ahead with anything until they knew exactly where it was so they could get access to it," he said.
"That's where the leak would come, typically," William Edmonds pointed out.
Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel also commented.
"They need to have that left open so they can monitor it, because the last thing you want to do is allow somebody to build $30 million (in projects) and all of a sudden have to tear it down because the dam is leaching," Hazel said. "Over the years there's been a lot of fill put on the backside of the dam."
William Edmonds first revealed his plan to the newspaper nearly three years ago. He said ODNR's yearslong involvement helped clarify his plans for The Boardwalk.
"When I first looked at the property, I had a vision. I've got a better vision now, and I think it's going to be far enhanced than what we originally planned," he said. "We're dealing with the changes, and they're for the better."
The Edmonds said they are partnering with Bill Simms and Michael Simms from Dayton, who developed the Pirates Club condominium project on Indian Lake.
William Edmonds did not disclose a cost estimate but has said it would be a multimillion-dollar project. He also said local firms Access Engineering, Consolidated Hunters, Koester Electric and B&B House of Carpet have been secured for the job.
The preliminary site plan, totaling 4.891 acres along Grand Lake's shore, includes four resort buildings comprising 9,900 square feet; a 6,350-square-foot restaurant; two resort-style swimming pools; retail space for offices, general retail and restaurants; and a conference area.
The buildings would contain 150 units. The site also would include 336 parking spaces - 244 on site and 92 along West Bank Road.
According to Edmonds, the condominium/hotels will be a profit-sharing venture. The 330-square-feet to 600-square-feet units will be operated as condominiums when the owners are there. When owners are away, the units will be rented like hotel rooms, generating income for the condo owners.
The first phase includes a new restaurant and one condominium/hotel building.
A 12-foot-wide boardwalk will be installed the complete length of the project, according to the Edmonds.
"There is going to be an actual boardwalk that we're going to have encompass the entire project," James Edmonds said. "It will be elevated so it will be 10 feet up in the air overlooking the lake."
In July 2015, the city's planning commission approved the project's preliminary site plan.
Edmonds also will have to go before the city's zoning board of appeals to obtain height and setback variances and again before the planning commission for final construction plans.  
They must finalize the building designs and obtain various permits from the city and state, the Edmonds said.
The Edmonds and Hazel believe The Boardwalk will spur economic and commercial activity.
"There's (going) to be a restaurant here," William Edmonds said. "Now they might eat there once, maybe twice. But if they're here a week they're going to go exploring and go somewhere else."
The younger Edmonds chimed in too.
"And it's going to open up more ability for the city to have events and everything ... which means more people in the town, more money into the stores," James Edmonds said. "It's not that far of a walk from the city."
The Boardwalk will benefit the entire community, Hazel added.
"The lake's our destination. Now we're going to put icing on it," he said.
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