Saturday, September 28, 2002

Support ebbs for plan to create underwater preserve

By The Associated Press

        KELLEYS ISLAND, Ohio - A proposal to create the state's first underwater preserve is losing support among residents who fear restrictions on their properties.

        State officials say they remain committed to establishing the preserve around the Lake Erie island - the site of several dozen shipwrecks. But officials are reluctant to move forward without the community's support.

        Next week, David Mackey, who took over as chief of the Office of Coastal Management two months ago, will meet with Mayor Robert Quinn to discuss the preserve.

        Mr. Quinn, who was elected mayor in November, said most of the 360 islanders oppose the preserve. He said some islanders worry that the designation would restrict lakefront property owners who want to build a breakwall or pier that might be near a shipwreck.

        David Kelch, district specialist with the Ohio Sea Grant, says the preserve would not restrict use of the area. State officials say a preserve would provide buoys, so boaters could tie up their boats rather than drop an anchor that could damage the site.


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