Gathering area, fire pit proposed for downtown waterfront

Port Main Street Inc. says plaza could also serve as an entertainment venue
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

The far east end of Main Street in downtown Port Washington could get a facelift soon, courtesy of Port Main Street Inc.

The downtown organization’s Design Committee has proposed creating a gathering area there, complete with a fire pit, seating and landscaping to provide shelter from the stiff lake breezes and hot summer sun.

The concept received approval last week from the city’s Board of Public Works, which agreed to allow the development in the right of way, and will be reviewed Thursday, Oct. 18, by the Design Review Board and Plan Commission.

“This just seems to be a natural gathering place in the downtown,” Main Street Design Committee member Jeff Lamont said. “The problem is, it’s not a very functional space. There’s not enough seating, and there’s a lot of concrete there.”

During Port Pirate Daze in June, he said, he noticed that there was entertainment in the area but families had to sit on the curb or on the street while watching.

The proposed design includes a gas fire feature that could be run year-round, providing a focal point and much needed warmth in an outdoor setting in winter as well as on chilly summer evenings, Lamont said. 

Moveable seating as well as a concrete sitting wall with landscaping and trees for shade would be included.

“This is the heart of the harbor,” he said. “People could sit here and read a book, look at the lake, look at the beautiful courthouse and at St. Mary’s Church.”

It could also function as an entertainment space where art exhibits, bands and even plays could be staged, Lamont said.
The committee is expected to begin fundraising for the project this fall, he said, noting initial cost estimates are between $200,000 and $250,000. 

“We’re hoping to keep the cost lower than that, but we don’t want to under-fundraise,” he said.

Two donors have already stepped forward to pledge $10,000 each, Lamont said.

The committee would like to begin construction next fall and perhaps formally open the plaza for the 2019 holiday season, he said, but that’s dependent on the fundraising.

“We’re really excited about it,” Lamont said. “We think we’ve got a great concept plan.”

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