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Port's 'Coal Dock Park' to Open June 2013

Though construction was originally planned to be underway this summer, Port Washington's coal dock park is now set to open to the public in June 2013.

After years of planning the project, a timeline has been set for construction on the coal dock, and a park is now slated to open to the public next summer.

The entire project entails work on two areas: the north coal dock and south coal dock. The latter, which is set to be completed and open Aug. 6, includes a accessible from South Beach.

The north coal dock area will be accessible by car from Wisconsin Street, by the Interurban Bike Trail or even by simply tying up your boat there. Here's a rundown of the park's proposed features:

  • Expanded marina space;
  • Promenade;
  • Fishing access;
  • Harbor walk;
  • Pedestrian bridge connecting the north and south coal docks;
  • Wisconsin Street "gateway" to the park;
  • and naturalization of Sauk Creek.

Earlier this year, city officials were more optimistic about starting construction on the project, as they had projected a May start date. Now, with engineering plans finalized, they are working with this tentative schedule that anticipates a June 2013 opening date.

  • Related: 

The north coal dock, which constitutes the project's bulk, was delayed when , but officials are now ready to set this portion in motion with grants from DNR Stewardship ($961,500) and Costal Management ($80,000). During a Coal Dock Committee meeting Tuesday morning, City Engineer Rob Vanden Noven said there will be enough funding to complete the project, given the city's engineering plans.

For city officials, this project ties into promoting Port's "walkability" as part of making the city a regional point of interest, and they said the park may be useful for Port's regular festivities. As a point of reference, Vanden Noven did some rough measurements to determine that the walk from to the coal dock park is about the same distance from the Summerfest grounds' north gate to the main stage.

Mayor Tom Mlada stressed that the major work on the park should be mostly complete by the time it opens next year.

"The key seems ... as if we need to do everything we can now so that the initial experience in June is a favorable experience," Mlada said. "(We should) ensure that everything we're talking about here is top-notch come June."

Committee members on Tuesday also considered its options for naming the park. They seemed to agree on the viability of "Coal Dock Park," which they said would be a familiar name and tie a historical feeling into the park. That name, though, is certainly not final.

Looking ahead

Here's the tentative schedule for the project:

  • August 2012: soliciting bids for construction
  • September 2012: bid awarded
  • September 25, 2012: Coal Dock Committee meeting
  • October 2, 2012: public information meeting
  • October 2012 - June 2013: construction
  • June 2013: park opening

— Local Editor Lyssa Beyer contributed to this report.

Robert B. July 24, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I'm all for the coal dock project but I've never understood the point of a bird sanctuary. Birds fly where ever they want to and if they aren't in a sanctuary, it's not like we're chasing them with clubs or blowing them out of the sky with shotguns (except for geese and ducks during hunting season). What makes this a sacntuary? No cats allowed? Anyway, yay coal dock.
Greg July 25, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I am glad the committee is going to considered its options for naming the park, I don't think I would really want to go to Coal Dock Park. It sounds dismal, dark and dirty. A naming promotion may bring interest to the project and the city. A few quick ideas Crows Nest Park or Grand Lac Park. I personally like Walker's Park, but that's just the way I roll.
Terry July 26, 2012 at 10:17 AM
Maybe our mayor can appoint another 16 member, blue ribbon commission to look into the naming of this park. And then another one to address the bird sanctuary. Lord knows we can't have too many of those.
Jim Lipusch September 03, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Jim Lipusch I dont like the proposed name. I could well imagine an inquiring out of towner mishearing coal dock park with "cold dark park". Not the imagery I would promote.
Humerus Adonis September 03, 2012 at 01:55 PM
maybe they have ankle chains on the birds like at the zoo, you know, natural habitat kind of stuff...
Humerus Adonis September 03, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I agree that is not a becoming name for a park in beautiful Port Washington. What alternative name would you suggest? ... Bituminous Park? Carbon Park? Fossil Fuel Park? Anthracite Park? or maybe just "Anthra Site"
Rebekah Luedcke January 14, 2013 at 09:41 PM
I'm excited for all the new plans and to be part of such a growing community!
Mary Baade March 29, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Does "Harbor Park" work? I'm so looking forward to spending time there!

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