SANDUSKY — The people have spoken, and Sandusky is the best coastal small town in America.
In USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Best Coastal Small Town contest, voters nationwide collectively decided Sandusky is the country’s predominant waterfront city, offering diverse amenities and one-of-a-kind recreational opportunities to both residents and guests.
The contest featured 20 cities, but, for most of the voting period, Sandusky and Rockport, Texas, engaged in a back-and-forth battle for the top spot. Though, in the end, Sandusky emerged as the best.
Sandusky’s title of Best Coastal Small Town reaffirms what many people already know — and, just as importantly, validates the hard work that’s gone into revitalizing the city during the past decade.
“Sandusky has come a long way over the years, and that’s because we have a community that believes in itself and puts the work in to be better,” city manager Eric Wobser said. “A vote like this shows the pride we have in our community.”
The city, the local tourism bureau Lake Erie Shores & Islands and Daly’s Pub hosted a live watch party Friday at the Columbus Avenue restaurant. The Register filmed the reveal, which is available for demand viewing on sanduskyregister.com or on its YouTube channel.
The restaurant was packed with people who showed up to see if Sandusky would come out on top.
“Sandusky is this gem of a city,” said Shannon Thomas, the owner of Open Way Yoga on West Water Street. “It’s the gem of Ohio for sure, and everybody should know about it. It’s this amazing city on the bay.”
She wasn’t the only business represented at the watch party. Representatives from Firelands Regional Medical Center, the Erie County Economic Development Corp., Sandusky Segwave, H2 Properties, Lake Erie Shores & Islands and more were all in attendance.
The room erupted in cheers as the results came across the screen at noon with some people, like city housing development specialist Debi Eversole, being moved to tears of joy.
“I’ve worked for the city for three-and-a-half years and have watched all the great developments taking place,” Eversole said. “It’s just a great feeling to know it counts, and it’s an honor to be a member of the best coastal small town.”
The city is home to Cedar Point — the second-oldest and arguably the best amusement park in the country — which offers a world-record 72 rides.
The first-place finish is the result of years of hard work to turn the town into a great community to live in and the best destination on Lake Erie, but the city won’t be resting on its laurels.
“If we keep this momentum going there’s nothing we can’t achieve in Sandusky and the surrounding Lake Erie Shores and Island region,” Wobser said.
The city is preparing to move into a new City Hall in the downtown, which is the result of a more than a year of renovations and an $11.5 million investment.
That’s only a portion of the $300 million being invested in the city by new businesses, building renovations and construction across Sandusky.