End in sight for coal dock railing


City expects to receive $45,000 grant to complete safety barrier and address concerns that have dogged lakefront park since it opened in 2013

    Port Washington officials are expecting to complete the Coal Dock Park railing next year.
    Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said the city has unofficially been told it will receive a $45,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources to complete the railing along the park promenade, although final word on the award isn’t expected until February.
    The city would be required to match the grant funds, something aldermen prepared for in the 2018 budget.
    “We had to budget for it as though we’ve gotten the grant,” Vanden Noven said.
    Although the city installed about 500 feet of railing along the west end of the promenade this summer, about 543 feet on the eastern end of the walkway is open to the water.
    The grant would allow the city to close that gap by installing railing that would match the rails found elsewhere along the harborwalk. Gates to accommodate people getting off boats moored along the west slip would be incorporated into the design.  
    DOCKThe fact that this summer’s project did not extend railing along the full length of the walkway upset many people concerned about safety, particularly the safety of children walking along the promenade.
    Their concerns have been echoed almost from the day the lakefront park opened four years ago. Residents and the city’s Parks and Recreation Board almost immediately began advocating for a railing, saying it is an essential safety device in an area where there’s nothing to prevent someone from tumbling off the dock into the lake, where strong currents are common.
    However, Coal Dock Park Committee members opted not to include a railing in the park plans, saying they were concerned about the effect a railing would have on the lake views and the potential issue that would result for boats docking along the seawall.
    Members also noted that the 18-foot-wide promenade is large enough for people to stay away from the edge of the walkway.
    But the movement to add the railing has gained traction through the years, with community groups such as the Port Washington Woman’s Club and Be-3, a local fitness group, contributing funds for it.
    The city looked at alternatives to the railing, including the idea of installing a curb that would warn people they were nearing the edge of the promenade, but officials ultimately agreed that a railing is needed.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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