Port council approves $250,000 project that includes widening cluttered, unsightly path around sewage plant
Port Washington officials on Tuesday endorsed a plan to beautify the entrance to the city’s north beach and make it more accessible before next summer.
“I think this is something to get excited about,” Mayor Tom Mlada said. “We’re addressing things people have talked about for years.”
Ald. Mike Ehrlich agreed, calling the project “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
“I think this is a great project, one we need to embrace given the lake is such an asset for us,” he said.
For years, residents have complained about the fact they had to walk a narrow path around the wastewater treatment plant to get to the north beach.
While the city can’t realistically move the plant — something Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven estimated would cost $80 million — it can make the walk more pleasant, he said.
“A $250,000 investment could potentially make a world of difference,” he said, noting the money will come from the wastewater utility’s reserve funds.
The project calls for eliminating the gate east of the parking lot near the plant and relocating the fence north of the lot.
The city would eliminate the signs and existing chain-link and barbed-wire fencing near the harborwalk.
To widen the walkway, making it accessible to people in wheelchairs and families with strollers and wagons, the city would remove the existing fence and install a decorative fence closer to the plant, widening the path by about 10 feet.
The new path would be wide enough that police could drive a squad car onto the beach in case of an emergency, Vanden Noven said.
The existing western walkway would become a secondary entrance to the beach to be used if the east path is blocked. An ornamental gate would help mark the entrance to this walkway.
The Common Council agreed to hire the Milwaukee-based firm of Clark-Dietz Engineers, which will partner with SAA Design Group, to design the improvements for $26,400.
The contract calls for a design charrette, a one-on-one meeting with “stakeholders,” such as wastewater plant employees, emergency responders and beach-goers, to be held, as well as a public information meeting.
The project is expected to go out for bids by spring so work can be done before summer, Vanden Noven said.