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City ready to ban swimming, skateboards in Coal Dock Park PDF Print E-mail
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Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 18:17

Proposed law to prevent unsafe lakefront activities goes to Port council Sept. 17

    Even as they plan for Coal Dock Park’s grand opening celebration Sept. 28 and 29, Port Washington officials are continuing to refine the park’s use and makeup.

    On Tuesday, the Common Council reviewed a proposed ordinance that would prohibit people from skateboarding in the park and from swimming and diving into the lake and Sauk Creek.

    “We’ve already had instances of kids jumping from the promenade (along the north side of the dock) into Lake Michigan,” city Administrator Mark Grams said. “The current there is fairly strong, so we really want to discourage that.”

    The danger comes because the power plant’s outflow is located nearby, he said, causing the current in the area to be stronger than it seems.

    Youths have also been skateboarding in the park, Grams said, noting that activity is prohibited downtown.

    “I saw a kid skateboarding on the railing to the steps there,” he said, noting this could cause damage to not just the railing but the steps as well.

    Aldermen are expected to vote on the proposed ordinance when they meet Sept. 17.

    The Common Council also approved an $8,800 contract with Dave’s Excavation and Grading to repair the lawn in the new park.

    “It was rutted up pretty badly during construction,” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said. “Right now, it’s essentially growing wild.”

    The Port Washington company will till the area, regrade it and plant it with turf grasses and, around the boardwalk, with native plants.

    Also Tuesday, the Parks and Recreation Board approved the idea of lending the Lions Club $15,000 from its open spaces fund to help fund a pavilion in the park.

    The club would repay the loan over the next five years.

    City Administrator Mark Grams had asked whether a three-year repayment plan was possible, Parks and Recreation Director Charlie Imig said.

    Shawn Hokanson, president of the Lions Club, said the group is also contributing to beach signs and would like to stretch the payments over five years to ensure it isn’t overextended.

    Board members agreed, with Ald. Kevin Rudser saying, “I’d hate to have to have three be the number and you have a couple of bad years with your fundraising.”

     The pavilion would be a memorial to Tyler Buczek, who drowned off the north beach last Labor Day weekend, and Peter Dougherty, who drowned while kayaking off south beach last spring.

    The cost of the pavilion is estimated at $90,000, and the Lions Club gift is the first major donation, said Jim Buczek, Tyler’s uncle and a member of the city’s Waterfront Safety Committee.

    “We’re just getting the ball rolling,” Hokanson said, noting the club approved the donation several months ago. “We like to do projects that improve life in the city, and this fits in well with that mission.”

    Mayor Tom Mlada, who is organizing a four-mile lakeshore run and walk for Sept. 28 as part of Coal Dock Park’s grand opening celebration, received approval from the Parks and Recreation Board to contribute any funds from the event to the pavilion.


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