Work on lights, fence could begin next year
Port Washington officials are taking steps to beautify the walkway to the north beach, making plans to replace the chain-link fence around portions of the wastewater plant and relocate the lights along the east pathway.
This is a next logical step for the city, which has taken steps to make the beach more accessible in the past several years, the Board of Public Works agreed last week as it endorsed the plan.
“I’m all for making it beautiful,” Ald. Jim Vollmar, a member of the board, said.
Beach access has become a hot topic for officials recently.
“The topic comes up from time to time, but there seems to be a greater interest now than ever before to improve the north beach access,” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.
“This isn’t a completely new idea, but it may be an idea whose time has come.”
The plan calls for the existing fence on the south and west sides of the plant to be replaced with a decorative one.
The existing chain-link fence creates an uninviting atmosphere for people walking to the beach, Vanden Noven said.
In the past several years, the city has planted native vines along the fence to try to camouflage it, he said.
“That was my low-budget attempt to improve the appearance,” he said.
But as the city discussed ways to improve the access this summer, renovating the walkway to curb the mud that flows from the hillside over the path, Vanden Noven said it was time to look at further improvements.
He noted that the city would not allow businesses in the community to install chain-link fencing topped with barbed wire.
“The city should live up to the expectations it puts on others,” he said. “It bothers me that the city has a chain-link and barbed-wire fence around its facility. It’s unlikely we would allow someone to build this.”
When some members of the board questioned whether a decorative fence would be secure enough, Vanden Noven pointed out that We Energies erected similar fencing around its power plant when it was renovated.
It’s difficult to climb because there aren’t easy footholds, Ald. Mike Ehrlich, a member of the board, said.
The fence along the east walkway to the beach won’t be replaced until a driveway on that side of the wastewater plant is repaved within the next five years, Vanden Noven said.
However, the light poles that impede people with strollers and wheelchairs will be moved inside the fence and onto the wastewater plant grounds next year, he said.
The estimated $75,000 cost is expected to be funded by the utility’s surplus funds, Vanden Noven said.
Board member Kevin Rudser suggested the city also look at ways to camouflage the tanks, particularly when viewed from above, perhaps by covering them.
That can be explored, said Vanden Noven, who also suggested the city consider painting murals on the sides of the tanks to make them less obtrusive.
Image Information: PORT WASHINGTON OFFICIALS are planning improvements to the paths to the north beach, including the removal of the light poles in the middle of the walkway on the east side of the wastewater treatment plant and the replacement of the chain-link fence with a decorative one. Photo by Bill Schanen IV