Port High plans to paint city street by school green

Plan Commission signs off on what would be project for freshmen
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

The street in front of Port Washington High School may be a field of green at the start of the school year.

Nate Hinze, a high school assistant principal and the activities director, received permission from the city’s Board of Public Works last week to paint a portion of Pirate Way green — the school color.

The painting will be done by freshmen during their orientation as a way to build community and teamwork among the high school’s newest students, Hinze told the board.

“Coming out of Covid, we realized we don’t necessarily have that sense of community,” he said.

The project is inspired by a similar project at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where Hinze went to school. There, Warhawk Drive, the road to the campus stadium, is painted purple.

Hinze said it is a beloved and much anticipated activity at the university and he wants to recreate that atmosphere here.

“It is one of my best memories,” he said.

The plan is to paint Pirate Way — that portion of Holden Street running south from Jackson Street to the high school — between the crosswalks closest to the school, a distance of about 160 feet.

The paint would be biodegradable and would fade over the school year, Hinze said. That way, each class would participate in a painting project.

“We’re trying to start a new tradition. It’s a welcome to being a Pirate,” he said. “Coming to high school is a big step up in responsibility.”

Some board members seemed a little disappointed that the students will be painting the street plain green.

“What about a Pirate logo there?” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven asked.

“Small steps,” Hinze said. “I’m trying to scale this so it looks good. When people come to the school for concerts and games, they’ll see it.”

Hinze said he wants to “start small,” noting there are only about 200 freshmen in the class.

The project would be overseen by the school administration and class advisors, he said, adding that they would be careful not to paint over the crosswalks, parking stripes and other road markings.

Board member Mike Gasper asked if the paint would make the road slippery and difficult to stop, but Vanden Noven pointed out the paint isn’t intended to last long.

Gasper also noted green is the national standard color to designate bike lanes, something that this road isn’t intended to be.

Board members unanimously supported the project for this year, saying they will consider it again in the future if all goes well.

“It seems to me this would be harmless,” Ald. John Sigwart, a member of the board, said.

Hinze warned that even with the city’s approval, the project may not happen this year, noting he needs to recruit students for the project and obtain the right paint for the roadway.

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