Sherper’s gets OK for lakefront rental facility

Plan Commission approves plan to use renovated shipping container for kayaks, canoes, paddle boards
Ozaukee Press Staff

Plans to install a renovated shipping container on Port Washington’s lakefront to serve as a canoe, kayak and standing paddle board rental site were approved by the city’s Plan Commission last week.

The request came from Sherper’s, an outdoor clothing and equipment store that plans to open a retail shop in the Harbour Lights building at the corner of Main and Franklin streets in downtown.    

Nate Sherper, vice president of Sherper’s, told the commission one reason they were drawn to Port is the proximity to the lake.

The company is expected to locate the renovated shipping container next to the water filtration plant on Lake Street. It will be set perpendicular to the lake and close to the plant to minimize any impact on the views of the lake, Sherper said.

That location is close to the proposed kayak launch the city has discussed creating as part of the breakwater renovations, he noted.

Even without the launch area, that portion of the lakefront near Newport Shores and within the harbor, is a safe place for even novice kayakers to launch, Sherper said.

The store is expected to open July 1, but the rental facility could open before that time, Sherper said.

He noted that the store initially considered locating the kayak rentals on south beach, but that locations is not as central or as close to their store as this site.

While it will be used for canoe, kayak and paddle board rentals from May through September, it can be used for snowshoe rentals, pop-up shops or civic fundraisers in the off season, he said.

The shipping container is 40-by-8-by-8-feet, Sherper said, large enough to house “a good fleet” of the watercraft.

He noted that the family is considering having a mural painted on the structure, noting it could serve as a place for people to take photos. 

“I think it would be great to have some iconic image people would want to take pictures next to, and another thing to draw people to the lake,” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven, a commission member, said.

A porch with places for people to relax and enjoy the lakefront could also be incorporated into the design, he said.

“You can do some unique things so it doesn’t look like a shipping container,” Ald. Mike Ehrlich, an architect and commission member, said, adding that the location along the harborwalk is ideal.

Commission member Brenda Fritsch, who is also an architect, agreed.

“I like the idea. I like the location. I like the scale of this. I think this will get some use,” she said. “They can be quite delightful looking structures.”

City Administrator Mark Grams said Sherper’s will have to work out a rental agreement for the land, which is owned by the city.

Commission member Tony Matera suggested the city review the building and site plan after a season to make sure the facility works on the site.


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