Oh when the sun beats down and burns the tar up on the roof
And your shoes get so hot you wish your tired feet were fire proof
Under the boardwalk, down by the sea, yeah
On a blanket with my baby is where I’ll be1

(Under the boardwalk) out of the sun
(Under the boardwalk) we’ll be havin’ some fun
(Under the boardwalk) people walking above
(Under the boardwalk) we’ll be falling in love
Under the boardwalk, boardwalk

(7-6-17) – With the City of Celina looking to the future of a new Bryson Park District on Lakeshore Drive, it might be worth the time to study the development of the Boardwalk on West Bank Road.


The first move was made when the city purchased the Hawk property on Lakeshore Drive with the hopes of expanding Lakeshore Park. Ash Street at one-time or another  featured a building owned by Hawk Construction, a Stearic Acid Plant, a gas refueling station, an old raildroad station, a chicken hatchery and a feed mill. Not a real eye catcher for a tourist wanting to spend a few days by the lake.

During Mayor Paul Arnold’s (1999-2003) one term administration, two groups of civic leaders visited areas located on lakes and how they were working to develop and build them as a future tourist site. The first tour was to Lake Wawasee outside of Warsaw, Indiana, the next stop was on the shores of Lake Michigan, first in St. Joseph Michigan, followed by a stop in South Haven.  All three communities had turned their lake positioning into a positive area that would attract tourist.

Mayor Arnold had a vision to help the Lakeshore and West Bank Road areas develop the assets already in place for a community located on a lake. One was a pavilion on Lakeshore Drive and the other a Boardwalk to connect the two areas and develop the future of tourism.

The issue was brought before council in 2003 and since that time, it might be described as a ‘Political Circus’.  Fourteen years later it is still an issue with local residents and city administrations deciding what it has added to the community and bringing in tourist.

In August of 2003, future Celina Mayor Sharon LaRue and council member Angie King were not supporting the boardwalk plan and questioned the city’s priorities in spending money for a boardwalk.

LaRue said:

“Can you convince me why this project is more important?”

In 2003, a group of Celina residents circulated referendum petitions, in November (2003) Celina voters defeated a city council ordinance that endorsed the Celina Downtown/Lakefront Revitalization Master Plan. The cost for the plan to the city was $83,000, that featured a long-range plan for Celina’s lakefront and downtown areas. The plan included uniform fronts on downtown buildings, new residential use in vacant areas, more businesses near the lake, a reshaped shoreline to add land, a pavilion and a boardwalk.

The work on the boardwalk started on West Bank Road before the vote’s outcome was decided, using a $250,000 grant from the state’s capital budget as matching funds in an attempt to attract more than $600,000 in other grants to fund the project.

Private development did move forward on West Bank Road and U.S. 127 even after the failed vote, including condos, rental units and Romer’s Entertainment Facility.

In 2008 City Development Director Kent Bryan talked about the financial situation of the Boardwalk.

  • The first phase of the walkway – completed this summer – was financed through a $1.3 million loan secured on the open market and a $250,000 state grant. The Celina Rotary Club has made a $150,000 pledge over 10 years as well to help with the walkway.
  • The city pays $110,000 each year for the interest and principal of the $1.3 million loan, of which the city still owes $1.2 million.
  • The city pays $110,000 each year for the interest and principal of the $1.3 million loan, of which the city still owes $1.2 million.
  • City administration was hoping to borrow an additional $1.4 million in February for the second phase when it renewed the $1.2 million note.

During that meeting Councilman June Scott said he had always been an advocate of the boardwalk as long as no money was taken from the general fund. However, he said the water line project is more important than completing the boardwalk.

May 8 2009
May 8 2009

Minutes from the December 29th city council meeting.

December 29, 2014

The future of the lakeside area in Celina depends on the actions of those who have been elected to move it forward. Over the years the cost to get this far, how much has it cost to get tho this point. The Boardwalk has been a tough sell since it was started in 2003. How will the new Bryson Park District move forward, how will it take to complete it and what will the final cost be. Will the community support the future of the lakeshore?