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Weekend tourist promos have Port bustling PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 18:20

Free admission to Exploreum and Light Station boosts attendance by hundreds; crowds also up for tall ship Sullivan

It would be an understatement to say downtown Port Washington wasn’t busy on Saturday.

Approximately 570 people flocked to the Port Exploreum and 480 to the Light Station, where the admission fee was waived courtesy of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Wayne Chrusciel, executive director of the Port Historical Society, said.

The Exploreum had to turn people away at the end of the day, while the Light Station stayed open an hour longer than expected to accomodate the people lined up to climb to the top of the tower, he said.

“They consistently had a line of 50 to 60 people waiting to get in to the tower,” Chrusciel said. 

And the tall ship Denis Sullivan, which offered “Haunted Sullivan” deck tours throughout the weekend, attracted about 500 people Saturday and Sunday, Maureen McCourt Boylan, Port’s marketing and communication coordinator, said Tuesday.

“It was phenomenal,” Chrusciel said. “Absolutely amazing.”

Part of the draw came from the fact that the Greater Milwaukee Foundation offered free admission to five lakefront attractions, including the Milwaukee Art Museum, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and Discovery World, all in Milwaukee, as part of its Gifts to the Community program.

While some of those visiting the Exploreum and Light Station also went to the Milwaukee attractions, others said they chose to come to Port because they realized how busy the other facilities would be.

Those visiting Port came from as far away as Utah, Kansas and Missouri — “They were in the area and heard about the event,” Chrusciel said — but many were from throughout southeastern Wisconsin. 

There were a lot of people from Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Waukesha and Washington County, he said, as well as a good number from western Wisconsin.

It’s not unusual to have a fair number of visitors from the west side of the state, Chrusciel noted, saying they are often people on day trips.

Chrusciel said he was especially heartened by the number of locals who visited.

“I heard a lot of people say, ‘I walk past here all the time but I never came in before,’” he said. 

The response from visitors was virtually unanimous, he added.

“What we heard often was, ‘I didn’t expect to see this in Port’ and ‘I didn’t realize you had this,’” Chrusciel said. “People were impressed by what we have to offer.”

And that, he said, was the goal.

“We wanted to raise awareness of both facilities and get people to come back and bring others with them,” Chrusciel said.

Visitors were also thrilled to see so much happening in Port, he said, noting that in addition to the Sullivan, the farmers market and beer garden also drew the crowd.

“We heard people saying, ‘I can’t believe how much is going on in Port,’” Chrusciel said. “They told us, ‘I can’t believe how Port’s changed.’”

And that, he said, was one of the biggest benefits of the day — to show people not just what the Exploreum and Light Station, both operated by the Historical Society, have to offer, but what the city has as well.

“It was a chance to showcase what we have,” Chrusciel said. “I think we did that. It was a great event.” Press

Spending plans for 2017 budget fine-tuned by city committee PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 18:02

Feasibility studies for new fire station, senior center among options under consideration

Port Washington’s proposed 2017 budget was tweaked by the city’s Finance and License Committee in a daylong meeting Tuesday, and the spending plan contains funds for at least some of the initiatives officials have been looking at for some time.

However, some of that funding is tentative, City Administrator Mark Grams said.

For example, the proposed budget includes $15,000 in the contingency fund that could be used to finance a study of a new, west-side fire station. 

But, Grams said, that money could also be used to fund other capital items that weren’t included in the budget.

“There is no final decision about the funds, but there is money in contingency that could be used for the study,” he said.
The decision on how those funds will be used will likely come as the city concludes its budget process, Grams said.

Fire Chief Mark Mitchell has been seeking funding for the study since 2014, noting that the current fire station is too small for the department’s need and too far away from the city’s population center.

Also likely to be the topic of further discussion is the railing along the Coal Dock Park promenade.

The city had budgeted $90,000 for a railing that will run about halfway along the promenade this year, and officials had applied for a grant that would have funded much of the remainder of the railing.

But officials recently learned that the city did not receive the grant, and Grams said the Finance and License Committee decided not to include any additional funding for the railing in the budget.

Funding for the western half of the railing will be carried over into the 2017 budget, Grams said. 

However, he said, the decision not to fund the rest of the railing will likely be debated by the Common Council before the budget process is concluded.

The Coal Dock Park Committee was expected to discuss the situation when it met Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven noted that work on the western portion of the railing wasn’t done this year because officials had hoped to get the grant and realize some economies of scale by installing all the railing at one time.

He said he expects to seek bids for the project this fall with installation of the railing project occurring in spring. 

The railing, Vanden Noven said, will likely be placed about four feet off the edge of the promenade, which will accommodate the moorings and marina pedestals that are currently located along the edge.

Gates will be placed along the railing, and Vanden Noven said he expects they will be unlocked much of the time, allowing fishermen and others access to the edge of the walkway.

Also included in the budget are funds for a feasibility study for a new senior center.

The budget includes $15,000 for the city’s share of a study that will look at the feasibility of converting the Aurora Medical Clinic at 1777 W. Grand Ave. into a senior center, City Administrator Mark Grams said.

The city received a $20,000 matching community development block grant for the study earlier this year, and is expected to contribute $5,000 of in-kind work toward it, Grams said.

The city is working on a request for proposals intended to find a firm to conduct the study, he added.

Seniors have long expressed frustration with the current senior center building, and the city’s lease on the former church runs out at the end of this year. Officials have said they will seek a six-month extension on the lease, and these funds are in the budget, Grams said.

The budget doesn’t include any money to extend the lease further, although Grams said officials will likely continue the lease past mid-year.

The proposed budget also includes funding for the first stage of improvements to the entry to the breakwater, but none for the second phase of that work or work on the east end of the breakwater itself, Grams said.

“We don’t know yet what sort of grant money we might get, so it’s hard to budget anything for that,” he said.

Grams said the 2017 budget was extremely tight, especially since aldermen did not want to dip into surplus funds to meet the levy limit.

They’ve done that for the last several years, he said, and now want to rebuild the fund.

Grams said he expects to finalize the budget figures by next week. The proposed 2017 budget will be presented to the Common Council on Nov. 1, with a public hearing and action on the spending plan set for Nov. 15.Daily Press

Oct. 26 farm program to discuss healthy soils PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 17:58

A Managing Nutrients and Cover Crops for Healthy Soils program will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, at Eskra’s Farm in the Town of Fredonia.

The free event is being organized by the Ozaukee County Land and Water Management Department and Milwaukee River Watershed Clean Farm Families, a group of farmers and landowners dedicated to showcasing and promoting soil and water conservation practices.

The program will begin with observations of a five-acre test plot and include presentations from experts on cover crops and soil health. Following lunch, there will be demonstrations of tillage equipment and low-disturbance manure injection, weather permitting.

To make reservations or for more information, contact Geoff Schramm at the Ozaukee County Land and Water Management Department at 284-8315 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Eskra’s Farm is on the east side of Highway 57 at Beech Lane.Daily Press

Pumpkin fun to highlight beer garden finale Oct. 22 PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 17:57

Port Washington’s final beer garden of the season will host a plethora of autumnal activities Saturday, Oct. 22, including a pie contest and pumpkin carving.

The beer garden, hosted by the city’s Environmental Planning Committee, will run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. but the annual Pumpkin Mania celebration will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Pumpkin Mania had been held in downtown previously, but was moved to the beer garden in Upper Lake Park this fall.

Free hollowed-out pumpkins will be available for children to carve, although they will have to bring their own tools. When they are completed, youngsters can take the jack-o’-lanterns home.

The pie contest will be held at 12:30 p.m. Three judges will taste pies submitted by local bakers to determine the best ones.

“They could be pecan, pumpkin, apple — any kind of pie,” coordinator Patti Lemkuil said. “Any kind of pie will do.”

The first-place winner will receive a $25 gift card to Daily Baking Co., and the second and third place winners will receive $15 and $10 gift cards, respectively.
Throughout the day, bands will play at the beer garden and food and drinks will be available for purchase.Daily Press

PW-S board plans to create at-large school seat PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 17:54

Long-vacant position for towns of Saukville, Grafton prompts proposal that will require approval of voters

Lacking a candidate or even a willing appointee to fill a long-vacant seat, the Port Washington-Saukville School Board decided last week to try and change the way one of its nine members is elected.

The problem is the seat representing a small, sparsely populated section of the school district in the towns of Saukville and Grafton, which has been vacant for a year.

The board intends to change this seat to an at-large position that can be filled by a resident who lives anywhere in the district, not just in this small section of the district.

Board bylaws currently call for the board to consist of five members from the City of Port Washington, two from the Village of Saukville and one each from the Town of Port Washington and the towns of Saukville and Grafton. The proposed change would only affect the Saukville-Grafton town seat.

Although board members are elected from and represent specific areas of the district, all voters can vote for all candidates. For example, a Village of Saukville resident can vote for a City of Port Washington School Board candidate.

The proposed change, seen by officials as a preferred alternative to reducing the board to seven members, is not, however, a quick fix, and is one that must be approved by voters.

The board must circulate a petition and collect the signatures of 500 district residents to have a resolution put on the April 2017 ballot.

If the measure is approved by voters, it will not take effect until the three-year term of the current town of Saukville-Grafton seat expires in April 2019.

Although not expedient, the change is seen as needed. One of the dangers of a board with an even number of members, Supt. Michael Weber pointed out, is tie votes, although that hasn’t been a problem with a current board that almost always votes unanimously.

“They like to operate a lot on consensus,” Weber said of board members. “They express their opinions, then work things out.”

A vacant Saukville-Grafton town seat was not always a problem. For 16 years it was occupied by Jim Eden, who served as board president for two of those years before resigning in March 2014.

The board appointed Paul Krechel in July of that year. Krechel ran unopposed in the April 2015 election but resigned in October of that year.

Despite the district’s efforts to find an appointee to fill the seat, as well as an April 2016 election that failed to attract a registered or even a write-in candidate, the seat has remained vacant since Krechel’s departure.Daily Press

Exploreum, Light Station open for free Saturday PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 17:59

Port facilities among five area attractions showcased by Milwaukee Foundation

Expect the Port Exploreum and Light Station to be busy places on Saturday, Oct. 15.

The two facilities, both run by the Port Washington Historical Society, are among five Milwaukee area attractions open to the public for free that day, thanks to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

Both the Exploreum, 188 N. Franklin St., and Light Station, 311 N. Johnson St., will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

A shuttle bus will run between the two buildings every 15 minutes.

Wayne Chrusciel, executive director of the Port Washington Historical Society,  said he expects as many as 250 to 300 people to visit the two Port attractions that day — far more than the 50 to 60 who visit them on a typical weekend day. 

In addition to drawing more people to the facilities, the event will provide the Exploreum and Light Station with a significant amount of publicity, Chrusciel said.

“I think this will give us an incredible amount of exposure with a lot of people who have never heard of us or who haven’t been in Port Washington for a long time,” he said. 

“We’re hoping it generates a lot of excitement.”

Both the Exploreum and the Port Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center have been receiving calls from people interested in the event since it was announced last month, Chrusciel noted.

The Exploreum is featuring the “Nothing But Nets: The Legacy of Commercial Fishing in Port Washington” exhibit, which will run through the end of the year.

Chrusciel noted that the tall ship Denis Sullivan will also be in Port, there will be a beer garden in Upper Lake Park and the city’s farmer’s market will be running on Oct. 15.

“It could be quite the weekend in Port,” he said. “We can really showcase the city and what we have to offer.”

The Foundation, in partnership with the Fund for Lake Michigan, is offering the free admission to what it calls “signature lakefront destinations” as part of its Gifts to the Community program.

Other facilities offering free admission Oct. 15 are the Milwaukee Art Museum, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and Discovery World, all in Milwaukee.Daily Press

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