Port will use $249,000 from DNR stewardship fund to upgrade entrance, walkway
The City of Port Washington has been awarded a $249,500 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources stewardship fund to help with its breakwater repair project.
City Administrator Mark Grams said the grant will be used to improve the entrance to the breakwater, widening the walkway and making it handicapped accessible and adding a fishing platform.
The award was half the amount sought by the city, Grams noted. This brings the total amount of grant money the city has received for the breakwater project to almost $750,000.
This is a remarkable accomplishment, Mayor Tom Mlada said.
“We managed to accomplish something that, just a year ago, no one thought we would achieve,” he said Tuesday.
The city is seeking to raise more than $1 million in grants to supplement the $950,000 in repairs being done by the Army Corps of Engineers. Mlada noted that, even though the city has received almost $750,000, it is only halfway to meeting that commitment.
That’s because the city’s agreement with the Corps requires that the money be spent to reinforce and cap the steel-cell portions of the breakwater, he said.
A $500,000 recreational boating grant received by the city would be used for that purpose but the stewardship money is earmarked for work near the entrance to the structure.
The city is expected to learn soon whether it will receive a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, Mlada said.
The Common Council on Tuesday held an informational meeting on that grant, which would also be used to reinforce and cap the steel-cell portions of the breakwater.
News of the latest grant award comes as the Army Corps of Engineers winds up its work laying armor stone along the steel cell portion of the breakwater, a move that will absorb much of the energy of the waves and protect the deteriorating wall.
The money from the Corps is being used as a match for the grants sought by the city — something Mlada said will make it possible to do repairs without burdening city taxpayers.
“That was the beauty of the $950,000 from the Corps,” he said. “Without that money, not only were we not getting any armor stone, we wouldn’t have any money to leverage.”
The city will continue to seek grants to pay for the bulk of the breakwater repairs next year, Mlada said. The first priority is to complete work on the cap in the steel cell areas of the breakwater, completing its commitment to the Corps, he added.
Its next priority is improving the west end of the breakwater, improving accessibility and adding a fishing platform. The final portion of the project, improving the east end of the structure by installing a concrete cap and railings, is likely to be done in 2016 if the city receives the needed money.