Jackson Street Pier
Award-winning Placemaking on the North Coast
In modern economic development, we see community development as mutually reinforcing to economic development. Projects that benefit Erie County's existing residents can be a way to encourage new residential growth, leading to wealth generation in the community. We often see these community development projects focus on the deliberate integration of different aspects of quality of life - a connection point between the physical spaces that make a place like Sandusky unique and the people who inhabit those spaces. The redesign of the Jackson Street Pier in Sandusky is a brilliant example of this kind of work.

Envisioned in 2016, broken ground on in 2018, and opened to the public in the summer of 2020, the completion of Jackson Street Pier was one bright spot in an otherwise difficult year. With this reimagining of an underutilized waterfront space, the Pier seemed to immediately become everyone’s downtown destination. On any given day or night one could walk along the boardwalk of the pier and see a reflection of the community. Nightly sunset celebrations and ice cream quickly became an organic tradition, and you’d be hard pressed to find a swinging bench to sit on most of the time. This space which the community has widely embraced will undoubtedly be a focal point of the coastline for generations to come.
Fast Facts
  • $8.1 million capital improvement project funded by TIF financing, private foundations, and grants
  • Awarded the "Honor Award" by the American council of Engineering Companies of Ohio 2021 Engineering Excellence Awards
  • Serves as the only U.S. stop for the Pelee Island Ferry, arriving regularly from Canada
  • Houses the Mylander Pavilion which can hold events for just under 100 people indoors and can be expanded North and West into the plaza area to accommodate more
How does a project of this scope come to fruition in a community of our size? With years of visioning, planning, and working to achieve it. The redevelopment of Sandusky’s waterfront was born out of the Sandusky Bicentennial Vision Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted by the City Commission in 2016. The plan was completed in conjunction with the City’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, both of which focused on Sandusky’s Bicentennial year of 2018.

During the extensive community engagement undertaken in these planning processes, it was clear that the residents were looking for more ways to interact with the waterfront. The residents of Sandusky knew that the city’s waterfront had such great untapped potential, and these planning processes confirmed that waterfront redevelopment was a priority for the city. 

The Jackson Street Pier project, in conjunction with the redevelopment of Shoreline Drive, provided an ideal scenario to meet the needs residents expressed. The projects would serve as places for the entire community to enjoy while also enabling flexibility in how the spaces could be used and programmed. 

That vision is already coming to fruition. Since its opening, on any given day in 2020, you will find large groups working out, new businesses popping up such as frozen treats and mobile food carts, an abundance of dog walking and fishing, and even a wedding at the pristine Mylander Pavilion. Even in the snow, the Pier sparkles. It takes your breath away, in a way that only a project with years of consistent and committed visioning, planning, and development from local leaders could.
Did You Know?
In today's competitive market, every advantage counts. As companies are deciding where to invest, we know they think about speed, risk, and money, but as the labor market becomes more and more squeezed, quality of life characteristics in a community have also become more and more important in a business' decision. ECEDC works hand in hand with leaders across all Erie County communities to ensure a unified vision and message when it comes to the attractiveness of Erie County. Contact us to join the discussion.
Stay Tuned for Day 7: Sandusky Packaging
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The 12 Days of Development email series recognizes and celebrates another year of progress in Erie County, Ohio. Throughout the weeks of December, you will receive email spotlights on a company investing, improving and innovating in our community. We can't capture it all, so let us know a neighbor we missed or what activities you've got planned to make the 2021 list! #ErieCounty12Days