Reflections on The Mentor Lagoons and Preservation

In Rosey’s Words

by Rosey Gamiere, Guest Writer

In 1966 the conservation movement in Lake County declared the Mentor Marsh a natural national landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

A geologist came to the Mentor Marsh, digging fourteen feet down, to reveal that this marsh is more than two thousand years old.

It’s our very own open marsh filled with cattails thriving in the swamp area.

Thirty-six species of deciduous trees grew in the channel until 1950 when salt from the Blackbrook Creek seeped in to the marsh, killing the trees

Though the marsh may seem to some like a forbidding place, it is alive with 125 species of birds, insects, amphibians, and small mammals such as ermine and mink.

We are so very lucky to have such a special place to be.

Our newest inhabitants are bald eagles who have nested in the taller trees of the marsh. The nest can be seen from Heisley Road…

The eagles have chosen to nest safely in the marsh, producing young.

Visitors have chosen this stop to appreciate our efforts to preserve this land.

Those living in the Lagoons will tell you they wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s another preserve

Thanks to the determination of the City of Mentor to acquire the Lagoons, we prevented developers from turning this rare lake plain habitat into yet another subdivision.

Good job Mentor for having the foresight!

The Ohio Historical marker sits where the city council stood on that glorious day.

The Mentor Lagoons Preservation Committee was started by Ron Prosek, Judy Willour, Clem and Evelyn Kiffmeyer, and Bill and Carolyn Wetzel.

Door to door the committee encouraged folks to vote in support of the city’s initiative.

The developers finally yielded, agreeing in a court settlement to sell the Lagoons to Mentor for nine million dollars in 1997.

We later acquired 70 more acres thanks to Citiy Manager Julian Suso’s efforts.

Amazing what can be accomplished by a few good men and women looking to protect our great city. Every vote counts!

Revenues from the…marina will pay off the bond obligations next year on the entire property. [editor’s note: the italicized is a slight correction from the original text.]

We must continue to protect this area where we can boat, hike, bird watch, just to name a few.

It is a constant effort to support our Lagoons, a sought-after property.

Speak up in support of our city and do all you can to keep it natural and beautiful.

Those living along the Lagoons wouldn’t trade it for anything and protect it well.

We have the right to approve the city charter providing further protection of this land. Major alternations need voter approval.

Mentor received the “Ohio Lake Erie Commission Award,” a benefit of the fourth largest of the Great Lakes, or as we call it, “The North Coast.”

Mentor demonstrated for the first time in Ohio history visionary public officials acting on behalf of an enlightened electorate, the use of eminent domain protecting us from development.

This is why we are so proud of this City and its foresight to protect and preserve.

In 1796 Moses Cleveland’s survey team came to the Lagoons to assess and survey the area. When they left, the first settlement in what would become Lake County was inhabited by its first resident, Charles Parker.

The four hundred fifty acre property was to be preserved for all time by using eminent domain.

To this day many try to take this Lagoon from us for all the wrong reasons.

Mentor residents are steadfast in their protection of this area, for which I am so grateful.

Revenue generated in the first 30 months covered expenses and paid for half of the city’s annual bond [obligation] just from the Lagoon’s marina

Continued renovation and maintenance should continue, keeping us on the map of efforts to protect and preserve, something to be proud of.

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This is what we want and what we need for the future of our Mentor Lagoons and our children after us.

We also received the Audubon Society Award for our visionary family of city officials and voters.

Go Mentor! And keep going!

Replicated only for posterity. All credit goes to Rosey Gamiere and The Mentor Monitor. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Original article found in The May 2015 issue of The Mentor Monitor.