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City gives go-ahead to lakefront memorial PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 18:11

Port commission, council approve plan for WWII tribute without input from Parks and Recreation Board

    With few comments, Port Washington aldermen and Plan Commission members last week gave final approval to the construction of a World War II memorial on the coal dock.

    But members of the Parks and Recreation Board, who met the same night, criticized the fact that the Common Council approved the project without any input from them.

    “It’s insulting,” Board President Lori MacRae said. “I’m really ticked off.

    “I think it’s kind of a neat thing, but we should have been consulted.”

    Board member Mary Ann Klotz concurred, saying other people are required to appear before the panel for its recommendation if they want to do something in a city park.

    “I think it’s an insult to Derek Strohl, who had to come here 50 times for a community garden and Joe Dean (the alderman who proposed the war memorial) can completely bypass us,” she said.

    “It wasn’t done right. It’s a park. It should have come here first so we could give a recommendation to the council.”

    MacRae said she thought Veterans Memorial Park might have been a better location for the memorial than a new, showpiece city park, a suggestion that board member Bryan Deal disagreed with.

    “The location is key,” he said, noting that a reflection pond and water are important to the World War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

    “The water there helps make the memorial,” Deal said. “It’s not the same without the water.”

    MacRae replied, “I appreciate your saying that, but I would have appreciated having that discussion here.”

    After all, she said, the Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for all the city parks.

    Parks and Recreation Director Charlie Imig noted that both he and board member Ron Voigt are members of the Coal Dock Committee, which gave approval to the plan to construct a replica of the Wisconsin pillar at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., on the coal dock.

    Aldermen may have felt they expressed the board’s views, Imig said.

    Mayor Tom Mlada said Tuesday that he understood the board’s concerns, but said there are mitigating circumstances — namely the need to get the project under way because of the number of World War II veterans dying each day and the hope they will be able to see the memorial before they die.

    He noted that Voigt is the Parks and Recreation board representative on the Plan Commission and had a say in the project.

    The memorial, which will be built by the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, will be placed on the southeast side of the coal dock.

    It will consist of the replica pillar, which will be about 17 feet high and 4 feet wide,  with a pathway of engraved bricks leading to it and three flagpoles. The Stars and Stripes Honor Flight will sell the bricks to pay for the project.

    A sign will also be erected at the site containing a replica of the stars found on the Freedom Wall at the national World War II monument. The star, which memorializes those killed in the war, will be placed so that the pillar shadows it at 11:11 a.m. on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, he said.

    Both the Plan Commission, which recommended approval of the monument, and the Common Council, met in special sessions Oct. 11 to vote on the project.

    Special meetings were held so that work on the memorial could begin immediately to ensure the project is completed by Veterans Day. A dedication is planned for Friday, Nov. 9.



 
WWII memorial plan sparks talk of more tributes PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 17:05

Project is among coal dock uses to be discussed at public informational meeting Oct. 16 in Port

    On Tuesday night, the Port Washington Board of Public Works discussed a plan by the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to erect a World War II memorial on the coal dock.

    While praising the group’s efforts to honor the veterans, Ald. Jim Vollmar, a member of the board, asked that some consideration be given to honoring veterans of other wars as well, perhaps with a reflection pool.

    “We should honor the sons and daughters of Port Washington who have died, made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.

    Those comments were echoed by Ald. Paul Neumyer, a board member who said one of his constituents asked him how the city planned to remember other veterans.

    “I think this (World War II memorial) is great, but we can’t forget about the others,” Neumyer said.

    Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven recommended they express their feelings at a public informational meeting on the coal dock that will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at City Hall.

    A presentation on the current plans for the dock will be given at 5:30 p.m.

    Tuesday’s meeting is intended to update the public on plans for the coal dock and get ideas on possible future uses for the 17-acre parcel.

    The city is currently constructing infrastructure on the dock, including paths through the interior of the dock, a promenade, lighting, parking areas, an access road and a bridge linking the north and south dock areas. That work is expected to be completed by mid-June, in time for a June 22 grand opening.

    While the city’s master plan for the coal dock includes everything from a water feature to an interactive children’s garden, those plans are not set in stone, Vanden Noven said.

    “It’s dynamic,” he said. “We want to hear from people how they want to see the park used and what they want to see there. There’s a lot of potential there. What ideas do people have for the coal dock?

    “Do they have interest in holding special events there? Do they want the children’s garden? Should we tweak that idea or come up with a completely different concept?”

    By Tuesday’s meeting, however, a decision will likely have been made on the  World War II memorial. The Plan Commission is expected to act on the site plan for the memorial during a special meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11.

    A special Common Council meeting will be held at 6:15 p.m. Thursday to consider approving the location for the memorial.

    Work on the project is expected to begin Friday, Oct. 12, to ensure the monument is ready for a planned Nov. 9 unveiling and dedication.


 
Aldermen back plan for lakefront memorial PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 18:44

Port council endorses Honor Flight group’s effort to build World War II monument on coal dock

    The Port Washington Common Council on Tuesday gave concept approval to plans to build a replica of the Wisconsin pillar at the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., on the coal dock.

    “We couldn’t imagine a better spot for this,” Ald. Joe Dean, chairman of the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, told the council.  

    The actual pillar at the World War II Memorial has become a gathering place for the veterans who travel with the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., Dean said.

    “The vets just flock to this pillar to have their picture taken,” he said.

    The replica pillar, which will be about 17 feet high and 4 feet wide, will be constructed on the northeast end of the coal dock.

    The Stars and Stripes Honor Flight will sell engraved bricks that will be used to create a pathway around the monument to fund the project, Dean said.

    A sign will also be erected at the site containing a replica of the stars found at the Washington, D.C., monument, Dean said. The star, which memorializes those killed in the war, would be placed so that the pillar shadows it at 11:11 a.m. on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, he said.

    Dean said he believes the monument, which will be lit at night, will serve as an educational tool and draw people onto the coal dock.

    “It truly is us paying homage to the Greatest Generation,” Mayor Tom Mlada said. “It’s certainly going to be something to draw people out there onto the coal dock.”

    “This is very cool,” Ald. Dan Becker said. While praising the project, he questioned whether consideration had been given to placing the memorial at Veterans Memorial Park.

    Ald. Jim Vollmar also questioned why the memorial was for World War II veterans instead of all veterans, particularly those from Port Washington.

    “Has there been any thought to incorporating all the sons and daughters of Port Washington into this?” he asked. “I think it’ll cast a shadow over those who served in Korea (and subsequent wars).”

    Dean noted there are other veterans memorials in the city, including those in Veterans Memorial Park and at the Justice Center, and said organizers were struck by the setting at the coal dock, which lends itself to reflection.

    He said organizers would look at ways to honor all veterans at the site, perhaps through signage.

    Plans call for the memorial to be dedicated on Veterans Day, but to meet that deadline, crews need to begin putting in the foundation by Oct. 12, Dean said.

    The memorial concept still needs approval from the Plan Commission before that work can begin.

    The commission is expected to hear the proposal at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, and make a recommendation to the council. The council will meet immediately following the commission meeting to act on the recommendation.

    In other action Tuesday, the council  approved a change to the design of the bridge that will span the We Energies intake channel and link the north and south coal docks.

    Originally, the mesh sides of the bridge were to be 4-1/2 feet, but We Energies wanted the span to be fully enclosed to prevent anyone from falling over the side and being swept under by the strong current, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.

    A compromise was reached that calls for the mesh sides of the bridge to be 8 feet tall, Vanden Noven said.

    The change will add $8,400 to the cost of the bridge, half of which is expected to be paid by the Department of Natural Resources.

 
Man’s claim of beating in jail denied by police PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 18:07

    A Mequon man who claims three Port Washington police officers beat him up Saturday picketed outside the Police Station Monday, but authorities deny the man’s claim, saying he was unruly when they arrested him.

    Bill Wisth said he was worried about the welfare of his son, whom he hadn’t heard from in three to four days, when he called police to a south-side Port Washington apartment Saturday afternoon.

    Officers spoke to his son and said the son didn’t want to speak to him, Wisth said. He then asked the officer to collect $750 from his son — money he said  his son owed him — and police asked him to leave.

    Wisth said he was waiting outside for a ride home when officers confronted him, pulled out a Taser and handcuffed him. They took him to the Police Station, then to the Ozaukee County jail, where Wisth said they threw him onto the hood of the squad car to search him, ripping his pants.

    Inside the jail, he said, they slammed him into a window, kicked and punched him while two sheriff’s deputies watched. They removed the handcuffs and released him in a cell.

    Wisth said he plans to file a complaint with the Police and Fire Commission and sue the city and county.

    Police Chief Kevin Hingiss disputed Wisth’s claims, saying his officers acted professionally. “There’s absolutely no truth or basis for a police brutality complaint,” he said.

    Hingiss confirmed officers were called for a welfare check on Wisth’s son, but said the son told police that he had spoken to his father the previous day and didn’t want anything to do with him.

    Wisth told the officers he was going to stay there until he saw his son, threatening to “kick his son’s (backside) and get his money,” Hingiss said. Wisth was asked to leave, and when he didn’t, he was arrested and placed in the squad car. He then started kicking the vehicle and threatening to break the window, Hingiss said.

    Officers did not harm Wisth, Hingiss said.

    Undersheriff Jim Johnson on Wednesday said a review of video and audio footage of Wisth’s arrest and jailing — taken by cameras in the jail and body cameras worn by the Port police officers — shows that there was no undue force used.

    “As far as we know, it’s a false claim,” he said. Officers and deputies did use a compliance hold, which he said is minimal force, to escort Wisth because he was uncooperative and went limp, Johnson said.

    Johnson, who said that his department had previously issued an alert on Wisth because of threats he has made, said Wisth tried to kick the Port squad car while at the jail.

    Following department policy, Johnson said, the videos were reviewed by a use of force instructor and a lieutenant to ensure proper policies were followed.



 
Port to spruce up unsightly north beach entrance PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 18:13

   Work on lights, fence could begin next year

Port Washington officials are taking steps to beautify the walkway to the north beach, making plans to replace the chain-link fence around portions of the wastewater plant and relocate the lights along the east pathway.

    This is a next logical step for the city, which has taken steps to make the beach more accessible in the past several years, the Board of Public Works agreed last week as it endorsed the plan.

    “I’m all for making it beautiful,” Ald. Jim Vollmar, a member of the board, said.

    Beach access has become a hot topic for officials recently.

    “The topic comes up from time to time, but there seems to be a greater interest now than ever before to improve the north beach access,” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.

    “This isn’t a completely new idea, but it may be an idea whose time has come.”

    The plan calls for the existing fence on the south and west sides of the plant to be replaced with a decorative one.

    The existing chain-link fence creates an uninviting atmosphere for people walking to the beach, Vanden Noven said.

    In the past several years, the city has planted native vines along the fence to try to camouflage it, he said.

    “That was my low-budget attempt to improve the appearance,” he said.

    But as the city discussed ways to improve the access this summer, renovating the walkway to curb the mud that flows from the hillside over the path, Vanden Noven said it was time to look at further improvements.

    He noted that the city would not allow businesses in the community to install chain-link fencing topped with barbed wire.

    “The city should live up to the expectations it puts on others,” he said. “It bothers me that the city has a chain-link and barbed-wire fence around its facility. It’s unlikely we would allow someone to build this.”

    When some members of the board questioned whether a decorative fence would be secure enough, Vanden Noven pointed out that We Energies erected similar fencing around its power plant when it was renovated.

    It’s difficult to climb because there aren’t easy footholds, Ald. Mike Ehrlich, a member of the board, said.

    The fence along the east walkway to the beach won’t be replaced until a driveway on that side of the wastewater plant is repaved within the next five years, Vanden Noven said.

    However, the light poles that impede people with strollers and wheelchairs will be moved inside the fence and onto the wastewater plant grounds next year, he said.

    The estimated $75,000 cost is expected to be funded by the utility’s surplus funds, Vanden Noven said.

    Board member Kevin Rudser suggested the city also look at ways to camouflage the tanks, particularly when viewed from above, perhaps by covering them.

    That can be explored, said Vanden Noven, who also suggested the city consider painting murals on the sides of the tanks to make them less obtrusive.


Image Information: PORT WASHINGTON OFFICIALS are planning improvements to the paths to the north beach, including the removal of the light poles in the middle of the walkway on the east side of the wastewater treatment plant and the replacement of the chain-link fence with a decorative one.      Photo by Bill Schanen IV

   

 
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