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FREMONT, OH (Toledo News Now) -
The Fremont reservoir has been the subject of heated debate amongst city officials and residents for months.
On Thursday, city council voted 5-2 to allow gas engines on the water, with restrictions. There will be a 10-horsepower maximum for gas and electric motors, and boats cannot produce a wake. Only mushroom anchors can be used.
But not everyone is happy with the decision.
"I was disappointed," said Mayor Jim Ellis. "I still think the majority of people in Fremont don't want to see gas-powered engines on the reservoir."
The ODNR gave the city a $5 million grant for the reservoir and a boat ramp. On one side of the argument, people said the city was not required to allow gas-powered boats, and to do so could pollute the city's drinking water. On the other side, they said the grant money meant gas engines should be allowed.
"We're very happy the city has decided to continue to move forward and maintain the commitment that was made," said Scott Zodi, with the ODNR Division of Wildlife. "I think this is a big win for the city of Fremont, as well as boaters and anglers in the Sandusky area."
"Most of the members I spoke with that voted for it felt that, in the long run, the city would be better served with gas-powered boats," said Council President Jim Weaver. "We had possibly too much to lose."
The approval now allows the city and ODNR to move forward.
"Folks are now going to be able to enjoy this great recreational resource that we helped construct, and I think it's going to have many benefits for years to come," Zodi said. "I know the next step we'll be needing to take in the process is arranging for the stocking of some fish here so we can jump-start the fishery."