Vermilion Main Street Beach Revitalization

Vermilion Sunset Lighthouse Photo

Vermilion’s Main Street Beach welcomes hundreds of daily visitors from near and far during summer months, inviting all to bask in the sunshine, play in the sand, jump in the water, paddle the lake, and more. The city’s beach is a public attraction that few other Ohio towns can boast. With only 17 percent of Ohio’s lakefront property along Lake Erie open for public access, Main Street Beach is a precious natural resource treasured by residents and visitors alike.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy and the City of Vermilion are working together to conserve and improve the beach and surrounding area with a beach expansion, new public greenspace, improved infrastructure, parking, and much more.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your help.

Artist rendering of Main Street Beach upgrades
Artist rendering of Main Street Beach upgrades

Protecting Natural Resources and Public Access

Vermilion’s stunning natural assets deserve to be highlighted and enjoyed for generations to come. Our plan creates ADA-accessible paths and a public comfort station so visitors and locals can enjoy all-day recreation. A large greenspace will allow more people to gather at the lakefront for special seasonal events, picnics, and birdwatching. The beach will become the anchor for an improved downtown center, where businesses and other amenities will benefit from tourism dollars. An investment in this project ensures that the Main Street Beach will be more convenient and enjoyable for public access, securing a solid future for Vermilion.

By acquiring and conserving additional lakefront property that was formerly in private ownership, the Land Conservancy guarantees that this strategically-located property will not be at risk of future development. Thanks to our partnership with the City of Vermilion, Main Street Beach and Harbor View Park are expanding, giving residents and visitors more opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation activities, find respite and renewal in nature, and take in views of Vermilion’s beautiful shoreline.

Improving Vermilion’s Main Street Beach to make it more accessible, enjoyable, and permanently protected is an investment that will last for decades.

Artist rendering of Main Street Beach upgrades

Funding Needs

The Land Conservancy, the City, and other local partners anticipate the cost to realize all elements of the redevelopment of Main Street Beach and Harbor View Park to total $2.6 million. Thanks to the generosity of committed community members, foundations, and public entities, we’ve raised $1.5 million to date.

Funds already raised have made a tremendous difference in enabling us to achieve great progress towards our project goals. We have acquired and demolished a private home to expand the size of Main Street Beach and prepare to construct a public restroom and comfort station facility. The team removed the dilapidated former Inland Seas Museum, creating an expansive new greenspace adjacent to the beach and enabling beautiful, sweeping views of the Lake Erie shoreline. The City allocated significant resources for the roadwork needed to streamline beach visitor traffic and parking.

Now, the project’s remaining funding needs include constructing the assets long-desired by the community and envisioned by our team, which will create a first-class lakefront park for the City of Vermilion. These funding needs include:

  • $475,000 to build the beach’s first ever permanent comfort station facility. Residents and visitors to Vermilion have requested restroom infrastructure as the beach’s primary need. The ADA-accessible comfort station will be constructed on the site of the previously acquired residential home parcel, which is now permanently conserved for public park use.
  • $125,000 to construct an ADA-accessible parking lot and beach access boardwalk adjacent to the comfort station. This parking lot includes drop off areas for beach visitors as well as canoe and kayak paddlers, providing safer and more convenient means by which recreational boaters can load and unload watercraft from vehicles.
  • $10,000 to create an ADA-accessible kayak and canoe launch for paddlers to experience the Lake Erie-Vermilion River Water Trail.
  • $500,000 to design and activate Harbor View Park, which has expanded significantly with the removal of the former museum, and is immediately adjacent to Main Street Beach. With these park improvements, community members will realize increased trail connectivity and parking. Further, the many coastal species of plants, birds, and other wildlife will benefit from critical habitat and water quality improvements. Planned Harbor View Park improvements include:
    • Installing a meandering, ADA-accessible path with observation areas for visitors to take in Lake Erie views and beautiful sunsets;
    • Adding seating areas and public art to promote a fun park atmosphere and public enjoyment;
    • Restoring native dune habitat and adding rain gardens to beautify the park and absorb stormwater;
    • Bolstering the shoreline against erosion and wave action with a nature-based shoreline treatment.

Additional funding needs for site amenities include:

Benches: $1,000
Bike Racks: $3,000
Litter Receptacles: $5,000
Ornamental Trees: $5,000
Picnic Tables: $6,000
Adirondack Chairs: $10,000
Shrubs: $10,000
Rain Garden: $10,000
Dune Garden: $10,000
Lawn Restoration: $10,000
Shade Trees: $15,000
Flag Pole and Foundation: $18,000
Observation Area: $25,000
Erosion Control: $25,000
Walkway: $32,000
Boulder Wall: $36,000

Artist rendering of Main Street Beach upgrades
Artist rendering of Main Street Beach upgrades

Now that we have successfully acquired additional lakefront property, protected the beach with conservation easements, and cleared the way for construction, we look forward to building vital park improvements. Our estimated timeline for completion of the comprehensive project is Summer 2023.

Please make a gift to the Main Street Beach Revitalization effort today! By helping to make this vision a reality, you are promoting outdoor recreation for both physical and mental health, protecting the beautiful natural resource we have in Lake Erie, as well as increasing civic pride and Vermilion’s historic nautical character. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to build a stronger and more vibrant future for Vermilion.

Contact Stella Dilik at sdilik@wrlandconservancy.org for more information.