sale

Ranta Marina leased out, to re-open later this year

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Ranta Marina will officially be back in operation for the 2017 boating season.

The marina, which had been for sale, will instead be leased with Mike Meloche being the person to reach an agreement with the investment group out of Toronto that owns the Front Road North facility.

“We finally reached a deal,” said Meloche. “I’ve been in talks with them for about four months. I’ve leased it for a five-year term. They are going to take it off the market for the five-year term.”

According to Meloche, the marina may go back on the market at that point but he would have first right of refusal. But for the next five years, it will be a lease arrangement.

“It’s a pretty long-term deal,” said Meloche. “It’s in my hands for five solid years.”

Meloche said they plan to open the first week in May. He admits they have gotten off to a late start this year but estimates approximately two-thirds of their target has been reached. The plan is to fill all 104 slips in 2018.

“We’re probably getting a couple of customers calling every day for wells,” said Meloche. “We’ve got quite a few returning customers.”

Meloche, who helped run Bru Mon marina for several years until it was sold, said the plans call for the dismantling of the restaurant structure that was there and offer either a food truck or small concession stand for boaters. He said there won’t be a restaurant there serving liquor.

“It’s going to open as a marina and renting wells,” he said, adding gasoline sales for boats will also occur.

The marina will be run by Meloche, his wife and their two daughters initially as he is not sure yet the plan for employees. He called 2017 a “break-even year” and said he is “very excited” to get it officially re-open. Meloche added he lives close to the marina and saw it fall to its lowest depths in recent years.

The marina was formerly owned by the town but was sold in 2009 for $584,000, a figure that outraged people at the time. The mortgage holders took possession of the property in 2015 with it being put up for sale in early 2016. Boaters could still be seen using the facility in the last couple of years, despite the fact it was not officially open.

Ranta

Despite the uncertainty in recent years, Meloche said the 13-acre site has held up well.

“The overall facility is in fairly decent shape,” said Meloche. “The washrooms, showers and pool are in good shape. The docks are in very good shape. It will be up and running shortly.”

Ranta Marina has nice views for boaters, Meloche added, and he hopes to offer Wi-Fi Internet service to boaters as well. He also hopes to attract transient boaters to the marina.

Rental rates will be $45 per foot, he added, slightly less than what it was when it closed.

For more information or to obtain a well or ramp pass, Meloche can be reached by calling 519-566-4980.

Verdi Club looks to future after sale of property

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

As the closing date for the sale of the Verdi Club property nears, its president is looking back on over 50 years of the club’s contribution to Amherstburg.

The deal closes Jan. 6 and Verdi Club president Vince Muoio indicated that while the property will no longer be owned by the club, the club will still be able lease out the member’s bar and use that portion of the building.

“We’re still a club but we’re a club without the bricks and mortar,” said Muoio.

Muoio admitted there is some sadness about the sale but believed it was a move that had to be made.

“We had a membership meeting about three months ago,” said Muoio. “There’s mixed feelings.”

The club has elections near the end of January and Muoio said the new board will “have to hit the pavement running and try to embrace our membership.” The Verdi Club currently has about 140 members, down from its peak of about 600 members.

Verdi Club president Vince Muoio leans against a bust of Giuseppe Verdi in the club’s lobby. The sale of the club closes Friday.

Verdi Club president Vince Muoio leans against a bust of Giuseppe Verdi in the club’s lobby. The sale of the club closes Friday.

The loss of major industry over the years negatively impacted the club with SKD and General Chemical being supporters of the club, he said.

“They were an essential part of the Verdi Club just like we were a part of Amherstburg itself,” said Muoio.

Muoio also pointed out that a lot of older members have passed away over the years and younger people don’t have the same amount of time to devote to the club.

“It’s hard to raise a family and have time to devote to a club,” he said.

The roots of the club started in 1958, he added, and met in church halls and people’s homes before the current property was built in the early 1960’s.

“This place grew over the years,” he said, noting there used to be baseball and soccer games out back as well.

There was a misconception that the Verdi Club was only for Italians, he added, but pointed out that all are welcome.

“It’s open to the public,” he said. “It’s a meeting place for everyone. You don’t have to be Italian to come here. We will accommodate to your tastes and desires.”

Over the years, the club supported many charities, poker runs and other causes. He said the Verdi Club tried to reinvent itself over the years “but you’ve got to keep at it all the time.”

Muoio thanked the board of directors at the club and believed the sale satisfied a lot of what they wanted to accomplish. He believed both the club and the new buyer are happy with the outcome.

More details on what is to come to the site are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks but those plans are expected to include the existing Buono Bar & Grill.

“We are here for the community,” said Brad Hearn, a member of the new ownership group that also includes The Jones Group.

Holiday Art at the Gallery ongoing through Dec. 11

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Gibson Gallery is ready for the Christmas holidays and wants to help the community get ready as well.

The gallery is hosting its annual “Holiday Art at the Gallery” and it runs through Dec. 11.

“It’s basically a smaller version of Art by the River,” explained Bonnie Deslippe, publicity director at the gallery. “We have it every year as a fundraiser for the gallery.”

Bev Williams, a volunteer at the Gibson Gallery, looks at some of the items available at "Holiday Art at the Gallery." The sale runs Thursday-Sunday through Dec. 11 at the gallery.

Bev Williams, a volunteer at the Gibson Gallery, looks at some of the items available at “Holiday Art at the Gallery.” The sale runs Thursday-Sunday through Dec. 11 at the gallery.

Deslippe explained they used to rent space to vendors but changed formats about five years ago to where vendors can now drop off items with a percentage going to both the gallery and the vendor if there are any sales. She added it allows more people to participate and also frees up space for people to shop.

“It freed up the vendors to go to other events,” said Deslippe.

Among the items available at this year’s Holiday Art at the Gallery are jewellery, woodworking, stuffed animals, books, Christmas decorations, knitting and crocheting and other forms of artwork. There was a bake sale last weekend with a raffle also available for those in attendance.

Pictured is just a sample of what is available at Holiday Art at the Gallery. The last show of the 2016 season for the Gibson Gallery runs through Dec. 11.

Pictured is just a sample of what is available at Holiday Art at the Gallery. The last show of the 2016 season for the Gibson Gallery runs through Dec. 11.

Acknowledging “it’s not on the scale of Art by the River,” Deslippe said it is a smaller version which allows the Gibson Gallery to raise funds to support itself. It is the final show on the gallery’s 2016 calendar before closing for the winter.

“It’s a way you can support local artists and crafters and get some really great gifts,” said Deslippe.

Deslippe estimated there are over 40 vendors that are participating in this year’s Holiday Art at the Gallery.

“We always get a lot of positive feedback,” she said.

The Gibson Gallery’s current hours are Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Their phone number is 519-736-2826, the website is www.gibsonartgallery.com and they are on Facebook and Twitter as well.