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The beginning of a new season at Put-in-Bay is like a kid playing with a dimmer switch…just as lights dim and brighten, activity on the island sputters up and down. One day the streets are nearly deserted and the next day there are golf carts with visitors plying the streets, boats appearing on the lake and at the docks. One by one the bars and restaurants open along with the always-open-early Shirt Shack. In April and May it’s pretty much weather driven with a mix of people in t-shirts and jackets or coats. Needless to say, April was a good month to observe the typical season opening especially with all the warm days we had.
Speaking of opening for the season, the township had to put up a public notice that the fish gut dumpster out by the transfer station would be closed because it was too full. Apparently, the spring fishing must have been very good.
As always, there are changes and new happenings on the island. The old red barn behind the Park Hotel that was used for employee housing since creation was torn down last fall and a new, much larger structure is being built in its place. Everyone is wondering about the Crescent property on Delaware Ave. Plans for the new development include an outdoor pool and tiki bar among other things. There will be a coffee shop on part of the front sales area at the Picnic Basket. They should do a bang up business since the coffee shop at the Depot is gone. Work is progressing nicely on the seawall and improvements at the Monument. Watch yourself while driving through the construction area there.
The Mossbacks/Fishbowl building has new siding and windows. The building is almost 150 years old and it appears from the quality construction material that it will be around for another 150. The newly-enlarged Firetruck bar at the corner of Catawba and Erie St. opened in April. They’re still working on getting the Forge ready to open for the 2023 season, but they are hopeful to be open in May. The old Parker House on Erie St. is undergoing a renovation. It really looks good. Scott Sneller has been busy remodeling one of the police housing units behind the Town Hall for one of the new police officers.
Everywhere you look, there are little changes and things being done that you might not notice. The fountain in DeRivera Park was cleaned, a newly renovated tiki bar is on the pool deck at the Black Squirrel, the Crew’s Nest’s floating docks were out of the water being repaired, a new sewer line and brick sidewalk were needed at the Forge, water must be turned on at cottages and business, boats have to be put in the water, new doors are being installed at the Grand Islander, the Lodge at Harriet’s House got a facelift with new railings, and more. Rest assured, the list is endless as everyone gets ready for the new season.
Like every spring, we sometimes get confused with all the ferry schedule changes. One thing we know for sure is that there has been plenty of traffic. There are even backups in the parking lot across from the ticket booth at Catawba at times. Could it already be time for Billy & Co. to start thinking about another new ferry?
We saw for the first time a couple of Sheriff cars running around the island the third weekend in April. From what we hear, the Sheriff is having a tough time hiring police officers just like every other police department around the country. We’re hoping he can find the necessary manpower to police the township. Speaking of the police, the Village and PIB School have partnered to hire a School Resource Officer. The officer will work at the school during the school year and for the PIBPD during the season.
One of our favorite places on the island is the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Museum. Curator Dan Savage is always busy getting new exhibits ready, but this spring he has a couple of things going on. The old mural on the south wall was returned to the Federal Government. In its place will be the antique back bar from the Crescent, the T.B. Alexander posters that were on the walls upstairs in the Crescent, and the mural of the old Colonial that was on the wall at Tipper’s.
It’s always fun and interesting on the islands in the spring. Now we just need to have a fun and interesting season.
Putinbay.com is proud to present this Put-in-Bay Gazette article from the May 2023 issue.
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