Harbor Park preliminary plans approved
The Kewaunee City Council approved by an 6-1 vote Monday preliminary plans for the redesign of Harbor Park as part of its $4.2 million revitalization of the Kewaunee Harbor area. City Council member Donald Kickbush voted against the proposal.
“The new Harbor Park design will change the look of the community,” said Kyle Ellefson, city administrator. “It will revitalize the heart of it.”
Under the proposed plan, a scenic overlook with access to the water’s edge will be built just east of Tug Ludington. Additional sidewalks from Milwaukee Street to the boardwalk will lead to the overlook, and new sidewalks will be built along Harrison Street adjacent to a new parking area with approximately 19 spaces.
A new sculptural piece or landmark sign will be located at the corner of Milwaukee and Harrison streets.
The existing gazebo will be moved closer to the water’s edge, and the surrounding lawn will be contoured to slope down to the gazebo and water’s edge, creating approximately 45 percent more seating for concerts where people can place blankets or lawn chairs. Audiences viewing music or other performances in the gazebo will look out over the harbor.
“This will provide more of an amphitheater feel,” said City Council Member Diane Jirtle.
Six fishing stations, including two that are accessible to individuals with disabilities, will be built along the new seawall. There will be a water access point for kayaks and canoes.
Boats of up to 80 feet will be able to dock temporarily along the seawall to watch concerts or access other park facilities.
Mayor John Blaha also indicated that he would like to ensure that docking space and cleats for boats would be suitable for larger vessels. He said the Lake Express ferry and other Lake Michigan touring boats may want to make the Kewaunee Harbor a future stopping point on their tours.
“We need to keep our options open to accommodate them,” said Jeff Vollenweider, council member.
The council agreed that docking for boats 115 to 125 feet in length should be considered as the park plans moved forward.
With the approval of the preliminary concept, the project’s engineers, Foth Infrastructure and Environment LLC and Smith Group JJR, will move forward to develop cost estimates and other details that the City Council will review in April.
Under the proposed timetable, construction would begin this summer, said Ellefson. The gazebo would be taken apart in the fall of 2016 and rebuilt in its new location in spring 2017, he said.
City residents were invited to attend a presentation of the plans on March 1. Ellefson said that the city had also recently met with community and business groups that host summer events in the park to get their input into the project.
A stage built for Troutfest was not part of the final plans because the sponsoring groups did not indicate they were interested in using it in the future, said. Ellefson.
The redesign of Harbor Park is one of the components of the Kewaunee Harbor revitalization project. Last July, the City of Kewaunee was awarded $4.2 million in the 2015-2017 state budget to replace approximately 800 feet of the seawall on the south side of the harbor between the Tug Ludington and the base of the pier leading to the lighthouse and make other harbor improvements.
Under the plan, the city will maintain ownership of the seawall and build a boardwalk, as well as add green space, lighting, benches and more parking. A key component is to make the amenities accessible to those who are physically challenged — both residents and visitors.
Approximately 30 additional parking spaces are included in the Harbor Park redesign, Ellefson said.
The city also recently received two bids for the redevelopment of the Klockner property along the seawall into a mixed-use development. Meetings are currently being scheduled for each of the firms to present their plans to the city council, Ellefson said.
Additional funding is also being sought from public and private sources, he said. Area banks may also be asked to provide low-interest loans to downtown businesses to help them renovate their buildings, he said.
The goal is to have most of the harbor revitalization project completed by the end of 2016, said Blaha.
“It is something I have been looking forward to for the last 10 years … it is a dream come true,” he said.
Karen Ebert Yancey can be reached at [email protected], on Facebook at Kewaunee County Star News Facebook, on Twitter at @EbertYancey or by calling 920-559-1235.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Harbor Park preliminary plans approved