Sigwart Puts Focus on Long-term Viability in Run for Mayor
Candidate John Sigwart puts focus on development in Port Washington's downtown as well as long-term planning for the city.
Editor's note: This is the second in a series profiling the four candidates running to be the next Port Washington mayor. The other three candidates include: Ricky Ranz, Tom Mlada and Jim Vollmar.
Becoming the next mayor for Port Washington would finally provide the platform candidate John Sigwart has been looking for as he turns his focus to the city's future.
Sigwart, who worked as the city engineer and the public works director for the city of Port Washington in the 1970s, said his strongest interest is in infrastructure and long-term city planning.
During 1975, Sigwart helped with plans for the construction of the water tower in Port, building it big enough to service Saukville as well.
"Thirty-six years later, we're no closer to serving Saukville than we were in 1975," Sigwart said. "We could pump sewage and water to Saukville, and it would get the wastewater plant off the lake front."
If elected mayor, Sigwart would like to start a joint board between elected officials in both Port and Saukville to start conversations about collaborative services between the city and the village, hoping to hold quarterly meetings "to do some real, solid, long-range planning for the two communities."
Another long-term idea includes development of the coal docks. "I personally want to see the coal dock improved not just for use for the public, but under a really well-planned, longterm solution," Sigwart said.
Sigwart also hopes the city can work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to build a museum on the coal docks dedicated to Lake Michigan maritime history. NOAA is hoping to create an offshore sanctuary to preserve and interpret the many shipwrecks that occurred from Two Rivers to south of Port Washington, and the group has also expressed interest in finding a place for a museum.
Sigwart suggested perhaps placing an observation tower on the coal docks instead of Upper Lake Park, where it was originally suggested to be built.
Sigwart is a 67-year-old, retired civil engineer with six children and eight grandchildren. He ran for the 7th District aldermanic spot against incumbent Dan Becker but lost in spring.
Sigwart said he has some short-term goals for his mayoral run, as well, and is a big proponent of supporting local businesses.
"Coal dock progress and the downtown tie for my priorities … because downtown really is on the cusp of coming back," he said. Sigwart said he bought all except one Christmas gift from stores in Port Washington.
"I did go to Grafton to buy one thing, but everything else I bought in Port," Sigwart said. "And it wasn’t hard. It was fun."
Sigwart helps to run the city's weekly Farmer's Market during the warmer months, and is a big supporter of local festivals. He sits on the committee for the Maritime Heritage Festival.
"I think (Maritime Fest is) going to continue to grow, and it really is a good image for the city," he said.
Sigwart also plans to host regular office hours, likely on Tuesdays and Thursdays before committee and council meetings that take place on those evenings.
"What I really hope is that people will feel easy to come in and either plant their gripes or make their points or spill their dreams or whatever it may be," he said.
"I’d like to (become mayor) … make sure that the (city) planning is done I’d like to see done," Sigwart said. "I have a real comittment to the city."