Development plan comes together for Mosquito Lake lodge

CORTLAND — Those seeking the development of a lodge at Mosquito Lake will have to wait and see whether there will be a change in policy under the new state administration.

A study was done in 2006 to determine if a lodge or other projects around the lake would be economically feasible and supported by various segments of the community.

Thomas V. Chema, an attorney and president of Hiram College, is putting together a draft plan for the area that he said will be ready by mid-January. It is partially based on the results of the study. The final plan will be released by the end of the month, he added.

The study and subsequent plan are being funded with local and state money and a contribution by Trumbull 100, the Regional Chamber’s economic foundation and Trumbull County’s Travel and Tourism Bureau.

Although Chema would not disclose what the plan entails, any development of a lodge or other hospitality facility depends on the willingness of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to lease the land it controls around the reservoir.

Chema explained that the ODNR under Republican Gov. Bob Taft’s administration informed him that the state was willing to lease the land it owns for such ventures. Now, with Democrat Ted Strickland taking over in the governor’s office, “We need to establish a new relationship.”

One advantage Chema has, as he views it, is that he personally knows Sean Logan, Strickland’s appointee to direct the ODNR. Chema, an East Liverpool native, knows Logan as both a Columbiana County commissioner and a former state legislator.

“Until we have some conversations, we won’t be able to move forward,” Chema said. “There are too many question marks,” he said of possible changes under Strickland.

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