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Home again
Michael Marsh comes full circle
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Photo by BOB McCLURE
Michael and Lauri Marsh are the new managers of the Shoreline Island Resort, 14200 Gulf Blvd. in Madeira Beach.
MADEIRA BEACH – In all due respect to novelist Thomas Wolfe, you can go home again. And sometimes it’s an unexpected chain of events that makes it happen.

For Michael Marsh, the 33-year-old grandson of Shoreline Island Resort owner Bill Marsh, it was just that.

Less than a year ago, Michael was successfully teaching and coaching track at Cedarville University near Xenia, Ohio. In October, previous Shoreline owner Georgia Vrionis put the property up for sale and Bill Marsh, repurchased it after previously owning the site from the 1970s to 2000. The idea was to put some money back into the property and turn over the daily management of the 70-room beach resort to Michael and his wife Lauri.

That transition took place June 1 and Michael quickly became involved in plans to renovate the property, located at 14200 Gulf Blvd.

In late September or early October, demolition will begin on a pair of existing two-story buildings, consisting of 25 rooms. Construction will begin no later than Nov. 1 on a four-story building with 33 units and parking underneath. The new structure will be located next to the pool, which will not be relocated.

During the process, the resort’s other 45 rooms will be available for guests.

Total cost of the project is just under $3 million, Michael Marsh said.

“There were some serious internal things that needed to be changed,” said Michael. “It’s something I thought I would do in five or 10 years. But the rooms needed it. It’s kind of a necessity.”

The new building will include six handicap-accessible rooms, six 1-bedroom apartments, a fitness center and two covered observation decks on the top floor. There also will be a glass elevator on the beach side.

“This is a quiet place for people and we have a lot of the same people returning year after year,” Michael said. “So we’re doing everything we can to continue that. We want to make sure it feels like a sanctuary.”

He said plans call for the use of an abundant amount of landscaping to filter noise from the street.

Michael grew up on the property during the years when his late mother Victoria managed the resort. After graduating from high school, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business management at Cedarville.

About his second year of college, Michael decided he had enough of beach resort life and told his grandfather he would not be back to run the resort, as his grandfather had hoped. A year later, Bill Marsh sold the property.

Meanwhile, Michael continued his education and picked up a master’s degree in physical education at Azusa Pacific University, where he also trained for a spot on the U.S. Olympic decathlon team.

Although his Olympic goal never came to fruition, he met and married Lauri in California and the couple moved to Ohio where Michael settled into coaching at the collegiate level.

Then his life changed last fall when a second opportunity to manage Shoreline landed in his lap.

“The person I was in 2000, I wouldn’t have been able to do the job well,” Michael said. “Now I’ve got my wife and two kids, plus a lot of experience and learning behind me.”

He said managing a beach resort is similar to running a college track program.

“It’s a lot like coaching,” Michael said. “It’s just a smaller team. We’ve got a good staff and I really enjoy it.”
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