PRESS EDITORIAL: Call it ‘Port Saukville’

When the Village of Saukville was incorporated in 1915—80 years after the City of Port Washington was founded—it had 376 residents. Today, Saukville’s population is more than 4,500  and is growing so fast it has been predicted it could double in a few years.

That’s quite a record for a community that exists because a few hardy pioneers decided to settle on what was a riverside crossroads of Native American trails. Now the place those settlers chose to live is poised to be the site of a mammoth development that will not only expand the village dramatically, but will make the Saukville-Port Washington urban area a powerful economic force in the center of Ozaukee County.

The Northern Gateway Development will cover 99 acres of land on the east side of I-43 with about 600 homes and condominium units, buildings for retail outlets and offices, a hotel, recreation facilities and a plaza as the hub of the development.

Planned by Ansay Development of Port Washington, the project has the pedigree of design by the widely admired architecture firm Rinka, designer of Milwaukee’s Couture high rise and the Newport Shores building on the Port Washington lakefront.

Northern Gateway will differ from other mega real estate developments in that it will also serve a humanitarian need by providing, in association with the dynamic nonprofit Mel’s Charities of Cedarburg, housing, employment and socializing opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The project will accelerate the joining of Saukville and Port Washington along the Highway 33 corridor as a seamless urban area. They will always, of course, be separate municipalities with separate identities, but in many ways they will function as a single sprawling community.

That process has been underway for years as Saukville, which is closer to the city center of Port Washington than are some parts of the city itself, has become the go-to shopping destination for Port residents who rely on the Saukville supermarkets and pharmacies for essential needs unavailable in their hometown.

The Feith Family YMCA located on the border of Saukville and the Town of Port Washington, with its many members from both communities, and the shared Port Washington-Saukville School District, strengthen the bond.

If it can be said that east Saukville is a sort of Port Washington shopping center, then Port Washington, with its specialty shops, restaurants and appealing lakeshore aesthetics, is a satellite downtown for Saukville.

Northern Gateway, as an attraction and a spur to surrounding development, will add momentum to the Port-Saukville connection.

Private development has done its part to further the mutual interests of the two communities. Now it’s time for city and village governments to take advantage of the opportunities the relationship offers for efficiencies in delivering public services.

Elected officials of both municipalities have been oddly reluctant to do that.

There have been no substantive discussions of a logical move to create a combined fire department equipped with the resources necessary to meet the increasing demands for the protection of life and property made by the rapid development in the Highway 33 corridor.

Several years ago, Saukville spurned an offer from Port Washington to supply municipal water from its abundant Lake Michigan source, leaving it with an ongoing need to drill costly wells that could prove inadequate as the village population surges. Officials owe it to taxpayers to explore these cooperative initiatives and others, whose value will increase apace with the high-speed growth of a region that can be accurately named “Port Saukville.”

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Ozaukee Press

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.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494
 

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