Organizers of lakefront tributes for Port teen, man who drowned last year launch fundraising efforts
Although it will be sometime next month before Coal Dock Park will likely be opened to the public, efforts are under way to build memorials to 15-year-old Tyler Buczek there.
Buczek drown off the city’s north beach last Labor Day weekend, and there are plans to create a pavilion and a memorial bench in the park in his memory.
Coal Dock Park is an ideal place for the memorials because it’s a place Tyler would have loved, his uncle Jim Buczek, a member of the city’s Waterfront Safety Committee, said.
“He probably would have spent a lot of time in the park, fishing or playing football with his friends,” he said.
The pavilion is an effort being spearheaded by Waterfront Safety Committee, while the bench is a project headed by Port Washington Boy Scout Max Noll, a friend of Buczek.
“I was on the beach the day he passed,” Noll said. “It was a hard time.”
He originally considered putting up signs earning people about rip currents as his Eagle Scout project, but Tyler’s relatives suggested the bench instead, Noll said.
“It’s a nice way to remember him,” he said.
Noll, a Port High School student and member of Troop 855, has obtained all the city approvals he needs for the project, and is now starting to raise the needed funds.
It will take about $2,500 to create the bench, which will have a sail-like canopy over it, Noll said. He’d like to raise $3,000, though, noting that will give him a cushion in case the cost
is greater than expected.
Any excess funds will go toward the Tyler Buczek Scholarship Fund, he said.
So far, he’s raised about $900, Noll said, primarily from a change jar at Dockside Deli and from contributions from family and friends.
He recently started seeking donations from others as well, and he plans to ask civic groups as well.
In addition, Noll said, he will hold a brat fry in conjunction with a Corvette show at the former EVS auto dealership on South Spring Street on Aug. 18.
“I’d like to get it done before the end of the year,” Noll said.
Jim Buczek said the pavilion — which will also honor Peter Dougherty, who drowned off South Beach last spring — is expected to cost about $90,000, although organizers are
hoping to get donations of labor and materials that will offset the cost.
They hope to raise half the funds by the time an opening celebration for Coal Dock Park is held Sept. 28 and 29 so a groundbreaking ceremony can be held then, Buczek said.
“It would be awesome to do that,” he said, noting construction could then begin in spring.
Memorial bricks that will make up the floor of the pavilion are being sold to help raise the funds, he said, and organizers are also talking to the Grafton Blues Association about the
possibility of holding a concert and silent auction later this year.
They are also seeking donations, he said, noting these can be dropped off at City Hall.
Crews are working on the landscaping, including city workers who still have to plant more than 100 trees, said Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development.
Crews also working on the boulevard island at the entrance to the park, and need to install bricks for the crosswalk there, he said.
Some electrical wires need to be replaced before the lighting is operative, Tetzlaff said.
“It might be close to a month yet before we have lights there,” he said.
Mayor Tom Mlada noted that the city will hold a celebration at the park on Sept. 28 and 29, perhaps including a run and walk that would showcase the city’s lakefront. A preliminary route included roughly four miles along the lakefront, he said.
For more information on the pavilion project, e-mail
. information on the memorial bricks can be found at www.tylerbuczek.donationbricks.com.