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PHOTOS: Fire Truck Ladder Offers Sample View for Proposed Tower

Friends of the Tower hope to build an observation tower in Upper Lake Park, something some alderman are behind but the mayor opposes.

In debating the merits of an observation tower proposed for , a central question has been whether the suggested 80-foot height offers a view worth the possible obstruction to neighbors and liability to the city.

For a firsthand observation, aldermen took a bumpy ride 80 feet up in a bucket at the end of a Port Washington fire truck ladder Saturday afternoon.

"I couldn't see downtown as much as I thought I would, but the harbor looks awesome," Ald. David Larson said after his trip up. "I think it would be a draw for the park."

In December, the Port Washington Plan Commission — which would be donated by a group who calls themselves the Friends of the Tower; the proposal could come before Common Council at their next meeting this month. 

Mayor Scott Huebner was the only member of the Plan Commission to vote against the proposal, saying he had many unanswered questions about construction and maintenance. He also expressed concern that the height would bring liability and detract from other attractions.

"I just don't think you need to put something that high in someplace already so high in Port," Huebner said. "It would detract from other historical monuments."

While aldermen rode in the bucket on Saturday, Huebner went to the . He said he observed how the tower would obstruct the view from the Light Station, and said the city should instead attract visitors to the Light Station.

"It's a historic building that the city and the historical society have already spent a lot of money building," Huebner said.

Ald. Jim Vollmar was also concerned about the height; he thought it might be better at 60 feet.

"The view is good but not as good of the city as I expected," Vollmar said. "At about 60, I thought it was adequate. I don't think it was a big advantage with the extra 20 feet."

Port Washington resident Chris Karnish, who stopped to watch the ascent Saturday, said he would enjoy the tower but worried about safety. He thought the coal dock would be a better location.

"It would be neat to have one, but I would worry about kids climbing it and the city not being able to patrol it," he said.

Greg January 10, 2012 at 10:43 PM
The Light Station has been such a huge draw for the city, I'd put all of my eggs in that basket.
Greg January 10, 2012 at 10:45 PM
That was sarcasm, if you didn't get that.
Terry January 11, 2012 at 02:22 PM
From you Greg? Say it ain't so... ;-)
Tim Schwister January 25, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Your sarcasm wasn't lost on me.
Tim Schwister January 25, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Port Washington was built in a naturally occurring system of hills and valleys with a natural harbor. There is no ideal place for an observation tower if you expect to see the whole of the harbor, marina, and downtown. You would have to make the tower immensely high, and the ideal location for that would be on top of the hill on West Van Buren St.. That site is occupied by a cell tower, so it's a non issue. Aside from that, we should offer other incentives and encourage people to actually move around town and visit shops and restaurants instead of taking a snap shot and leaving.
Postmarc March 06, 2012 at 02:00 PM
It occurred to me that spending money on fixing the system of hills and valleys of the breakwall out to the Light Station might better serve residents, tourists (and local fishermen) and make that trip less of a hazard.

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