CONNEAUT — A new place for visitors may be headed to Conneaut in the future, as officials unveiled a proposal for a new, $25 million hotel to be built on the city’s waterfront Monday night.

The proposed hotel would have 80 rooms, a restaurant, bar, and a conference center, City Manager Jim Hockaday said at Monday’s city council meeting.

The hotel would sit on the site of Lakeview Park and the former Lakeview Trailer Park, which closed in 2018.

A hotel at the site was one of a number of potential catalyst projects discussed in the city’s comprehensive plan.

“The bluff provides scenic views of the Lake and, as one of the largest areas for redevelopment, it can spur the comprehensive revitalization efforts of the Harbor District. The city has been exploring development opportunities including a recent hotel feasibility study and development concepts prepared by the Cleveland Urban Design Center,” the plan says.

The city put out a request for proposals in June.

“This is a proposal. This is an initial submission. Under the (request for proposal) rules, we have the right to negotiate these,” Hockaday said.

The city will review the proposal and hopes to have a development agreement in place by the end of the year, Hockaday said. “If we’re going to do something, we should do it,” he said.

City council was provided with a copy of the proposal.

“I’m just over the moon excited about it,” Executive Director of the Ashtabula County Visitors Bureau Stephanie Siegel said. “It’s a game-changer for the waterfront and the community,” she added later.

The Ashtabula County Visitors Bureau commissioned a study several years ago, and one of the issues it identified was a desire among tourists for luxury overnight accommodations, Siegel said.

The $25 million cost of the hotel would be paid by the developer, Hockaday said.

“I’m very excited to go through their proposal in detail, and review it, and see what we can work on,” Hockaday said.

In other business:

• The city’s Energy Special Improvement District was approved by council. The district allows businesses to apply for loans to make their businesses more energy efficient, and have the payment for those loans assessed to their taxes.

The funds come from private lenders.

Among the kinds of improvements eligible for funding through the ESID are roofs, windows and LED lighting, Hockaday said.

• The city approved a budget amendment, providing more money for overtime for the fire department.

The fire department has already used almost all of their budgeted overtime money for 2019, with four months left in the year.

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