The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 29, 2013

Mariner Park sails into reality with groundbreaking ceremony

Staff Writer

ASHTABULA — Much to the delight of Harbor High School graduates, the groundbreaking for Harbor’s Mariner Park set sail Monday.

A group of about 25 gathered on the property, the site of old Harbor High at the corner of Walnut Boulevard and Lake Avenue, to see the man who started it all — Harbor High graduate  Chuck Altonen — dig into the dirt.

“It’s been a long road getting here,” said Altonen, who spearheaded the Mariner Park campaign.

The committee presented Altonen with a plaque for his determination to build the park. This determination was passed along to the present officers of the Mariner Memorial Park Committee: Rae Perskari Smith, president; Scott Furman, vice president; Mark Coach, secretary; Smith, interim treasurer; Jesy Van Dyke, fundraiser chairman, and Rosemary Juhola, caller.

City Manager Jim Timonere congratulated the group, as did City Council President J. P. Ducro IV.

Several Harbor High alumni attended the event, including Matt Carson, who received the first Harborite of the Year Award from the committee in the spring. It will be given annually from now on.

 Harbor High was demolished in 2009, but parts of the school, including a piece of concrete which reads, “Built in 1917.”

The Ashtabula Area City School Board sold the property to Harbor Anchor Properties Ltd. of Ashtabula for $78,000, records show.

Two years ago, Harbor Anchor Properties Ltd. gave a corner of the property to Mariner Memorial Park Committee free of charge.

“The Ashtabula committee was overjoyed and thrilled,” Altonen said.

Since that time, the Mariner Memorial Park Committee has organized several fund-raising events to benefit the building of the park.

The group plans to erect the monument next year. They may also replace the sidewalk that ran from the property line on Walnut Boulevard to the property line on West Third Street with yellow bricks similar to the color of the old school.

The group also is talking about signage similar to Point Park, with a photograph of old Harbor High School and its history.