|Proposed Lake Erie ferry route|
After years of rumors and informal discussions, plans for a Lake Erie ferry service between Cleveland and Port Stanley have taken a big step toward becoming reality. The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and Central Elgin, the governing authority over Port Stanley, have teamed up to work toward pilot ferry service between the two ports. The two cities received two formal proposal packages by the Aug. 15 deadline for submissions, one from an American ferry operator and one from a Canadian firm.
Back in February local officials in Central Elgin had first agreed to begin formal discussions with the Port Authority regarding the launch of a ferry service between the two ports. Once the Central Elgin Municipal Council passed a resolution supporting further discussions with Cleveland port officials, talks between the two accelerated.
Port Authority CEO Will Friedman had reopened discussions with Canadian officials about the ferry service last fall. The service had been contemplated for years, but did not materialize, in part because the Canadian government had not completed a long-awaited transfer of the waterfront property to local control. Once the transfer took place, formal discussions got underway.
Officials from Central Elgin will be invited to Cleveland in the next several weeks to review the submissions, agree on ways to assess them and discuss next steps.
(Sources for this story: The London Free Press and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority)