Rossford Marina

"Jersey Bars" have been installed along the North Wall to improve safety and as a break wall for waves at the Rossford Marina. 

ROSSFORD — The spring rainfall — some might say deluge — has caused problems beyond farm fields. The Rossford Marina has seen an increase in issues due to higher water.

“Nobody’s in any immediate danger, but it needs to be addressed and addressed fast. It’s a big safety issue. We need to get it fixed yesterday,” said Councilman Jerry Staczek.

High water matters are not new for the marina, but the spring rains magnified the problems and exasperated boaters. The issues are complicated as the marina is considered a “safe harbor” and thus should have minimal to no issues for boaters, according to Staczek and Councilman Bob Densic.

In May, the two councilmen met at the marina with state and other local officials to discuss the problems. Among those in attendance were Scudder D. Mackey, chief office of Coastal Management; Ohio Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R- Bowling Green; and Ohio Rep. Haraz N. Ghanbari, R-Perrysburg,

Through that meeting Ghanbari secured “Jersey Walls,” which is what are small concrete barriers that are normally used in road construction to block off an area or lane.

Those were installed along the north marina wall to add some height for visibility. The help assure no unfamiliar boaters try to enter the marina where the wall is and may not be visible because of the higher water.

The addition will allow boaters to better see the walls and offer a small buffer to protect boats in the marina from the wake that comes from boat traffic on the Maumee River.

The tentative plans to add similar barriers along the west marina wall will not work because the equipment necessary to install those barriers is too large to traverse. Also, the city’s public works staff sometimes use that wall area to access docks.

Council is pursuing grant money for marina work.

In May, the city applied for a Coastal Management Grant for $20,000 for planning purposes. It was later reported to council the city did not receive that grant.

However, Densic said there are other options.

“We were notified of a Hazard Mitigation Grant program that could be used towards any disaster and is a 75% grant with the other 25% coming from donations and other sources,” he said.

The city has prepared that grant and it is scheduled to be submitted by the deadline of July 10.

Both Gavarone and Ghanbari saw for themselves on their visit some of the problems facing the marina and its operation. They saw the water level which exceeded the wall and poses a danger for those not familiar with the entrance point to the marina.

“We are still looking for a permanent solution to our problems,” Densic said in a later interview. “We are also looking for temporary fixes to get through.”

“This is really just a Band-Aid, a temporary fix. This, with the continuing rising water, is going to be an ongoing problem,” Staczek added. “We need to raise those walls, and we believe that Sen. Gavarone and Rep. Ghanbari will be able to help us get something through the state.”

The challenge with that is that this aid will not be coming any time soon, he said.

Staczek said the marina has been flooded most of the season, though it has been able to remain functional as most of the docks are floating. This allows the boaters to use the marina.

“The biggest thing is it really has been flooded every day. We have had more flood days than dry days, I estimate about three to one,” Staczek added.

One of the issues which has concerned Staczek is if water gets into the electrical boxes in the marina.

“In the past we were told if the water level got to a certain level to the power stations, there were safety devices that would automatically shut down the power. But even the best systems are known to fail,” he said.

“We just relied on information passed down for years. I forced that issue, thinking we need a back-up system in case the fail-safes aren’t what they should be,” Staczek added. “As it turns out, we are no where near what it should be. There’s a problem down there and we definitely need to do something.”

Densic said that he and his wife, Tiffany, have a boat in the marina.

“One of the concerns we have is to make sure that these temporary measures don’t cause us problems down the road.”

For example, Densic said that when ice floes come in the spring, the ice could dislodge any temporary solutions such as the Jersey Walls.

“In that high spring water if the ice breaks and if that concrete breaks up and goes into the marina we would be far worse off than we were before,” Densic said. “We want to make sure we do it and we do it right.”

He said because of the need for staff to have access, there is nothing currently to protect the west wall. At the time of the May visit and most other times, that wall is covered by water and is not visible from the open water except for the logs and debris which it catches, making it a hazard.

Densic said they need a short-term plan because a long-term plan would be “at least a few years out,” due to the need for studies and plans to make sure it is done right.

“Long term we’re looking at least two years out in boating seasons,” he said.

Densic said council would continue to pursue grants.

“We’re going to go again. We’re not going to quit until we get a solution down there. We are not going to prevent the water from rising, so we have to find a way to prevent damages to our marina.They (coastal management officials) are projecting the same height next year, maybe slightly reduced, but we need a foot or less water just to be safe.”