Thursday, July 19, 2007

Port Wayne
When I tell people I'm from Ohio, they immediately assume it's Defiance or Hicksville (only figuratively, I reply--I am from Fitchville), or Payne, etc. When I tell them I'm from the Sandusky area -- or, "not far from Cedar Point," they become much more interested.
I didn't appreciate being from there until I moved here. Let's face it, Ft. Wayne is not a tourist area. The part of northern Ohio I'm from is--the North Coast, some call it. Cedar Point has been there for over 100 years, but there's lots more to do, from the Lake Erie Islands to the string of quaint little cities along the lake to Cleveland with its Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, great sports venues, wonderful theater district, zoo, amazing arts district in the University Circle area, and how could I not include, lots of fun shopping?
In the Sandusky area alone, besides and often in addition to CP, you can now visit one of three, soon to be four, resort waterparks. The shopping has vastly improved. The Merry-Go-Round Museum, the downtown parks, the wonderful nature areas like Old Woman's Creek (eagles in residence), the marinas, and tons of restaurants (chains and local) make for a great long weekend. Throw in nearby places like Milan with its Edison Birthplace, or Seneca Caverns, or African Safari, ferry trips to any of the islands (Kelley's, Middle Bass, etc.), trips to Huron or Vermilion, Lorain, and on up the lake, or, going the other way, the Marblehead peninsula with its lighthouse and shops, and Catawba Island, ditto and even for someone from the area, it's easy to fill a week's vacation home with the parents with tons of fun stuff. Which is why I've never minded "spending a week at home" for all the 30 years we've lived in Ft. Wayne (plus, having a nice family doesn't hurt!).

Port Clinton now looks to add a waterpark, and this would be a great move for them. They're already in an area full of tourist attractions, and with some smart marketing, could position itself to really revive its downtown.

I just can't help but think that until Ft. Wayne finds its personality (and I know it's here somewhere) we can build all the ballparks and water resorts we want, but our downtown is not gonna thrive just because stuff is there.

And I'm still pushing for Ft. Wayne: City of One Festival After Another. (Okay, marketers, I know it needs to be catchier.) Ft. Party. Really, isn't it the one thing we do well, year after year?

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