August event planned by Port-Saukville Jaycees will raise money for much-discussed lakefront safeguard
Frustrated by the lack of a railing along the Coal Dock Park promenade, the Port Washington-Saukville Jaycees is holding its first Land Regatta Run/Walk in August, with proceeds going toward the project.
The four-mile course will be timed, while the two-mile course will be untimed and more of a family event, race director Christina Brickner said. It will be held on Saturday, Aug. 16, during Maritime Heritage Festival.
“It seems awesome to go on a run past the tall ships,” Brickner said.
With the race beginning and ending in Coal Dock Park, the railing seemed like an ideal project to raise money for, she added.
“For this inaugural event, it was an easy choice for us, especially since the majority of our members have young families,” Jaycees President Morgan Herrick said.
“We want to ensure that this park is as safe as possible for our children to run and play, so we believe this is a great use of the event proceeds.”
All of the proceeds this year will go toward the railing, Brickner said, adding other charitable causes will be funded in future years.
“We will not keep a dime,” she said.
Jaycees members feel strongly that the railing along the 1,000-foot-long promenade on the north end of the park is needed, Brickner said.
She recalled a day last year when she was pushing a stroller as she and her children walked on the promenade.
“The stroller rolled on its own accord toward the edge,” she said. “All it takes is one fall, one tumble, and a child will go down into the lake. And it is quite a drop.”
She’s not completely comfortable walking too close to the edge herself, Brickner added.
The run will also help further the goals of the city’s Waterfront Safety Advisory Committee, with the Jaycees including water safety tips in race registration packets.
Since Coal Dock Park opened last year, the question of whether a railing should be installed along the promenade has been debated.
Aldermen agreed earlier this year that one should be, citing the issue of safety, but installation of a railing has been postponed as officials seek funding for it.
With an estimated cost of $200,000, the railing is not an inexpensive amenity for the park. The city has applied for a Department of Natural Resources stewardship grant that could pay as much as half the cost, but it won’t know whether it will receive any funding until late June or early July, officials said.
“We feel confident we’ll get at least some of the money,” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said Tuesday, adding officials are hoping to get at least $45,000 in grant money.
If the city doesn’t get all the money it is seeking, it will likely reapply next year for the remainder of the funds, he said.
The city would be expected to match that amount, and Vanden Noven said that money would likely come from funds that remain in the Coal Dock Park development budget.
Money raised by groups such as the Jaycees and the Port Washington Woman’s Club, which has pledged $1,000 toward the railing, could also be used to make up any shortfall, Vanden Noven said.
If the city is confident it will receive the grant money, even if that occurs over two years, it would likely install the railing in phases beginning this fall, he added.
That would be rewarding, Brickner said, noting she is hoping to get 500 participants in the Land Regatta Run/Walk this year and build on that in the future.
The run/walk, which will take the place of Mayor Tom Mlada’s lakeshore run, has a second purpose as well, Brickner said — raising awareness of the Jaycees, which have been in Port Washington for 65 years.
“Most people don’t realize that,” she said. “And like any civic organization, we struggle with membership. It would be great if some people learn about us and join us.”
The event is slated to begin at 9 a.m. for people taking part in the four-mile run, followed by the two-mile walk/run.
Check in begins at 7:30 a.m.
The fee for the run/walk is $20 for people ages 14 and older if they register by Aug. 2 and $25 after that date. Included in the fee is a T-shirt and, for adults, a raffle ticket for prizes that include travel, gym and a sky-diving packages.
There is no registration fee for those ages 13 and younger. They do not receive a T-shirt.
To register, visit www.active.com. Forms may be dropped off at BMO Harris Bank and Smith Bros. Coffeehouse, both in Port Washington, and at the Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA in Saukville.
For more information, visit http://jci.port-washington.org.