Baileys Harbor residents expressed concerns with the amount of formal landscaping in a preliminary design for improvements to Anclam Beach park on the south end of the town at an informational hearing last night.
Karl Klug was one of a handful in the audience of about 25 people who said said an overly formal park was out of character for Baileys Harbor. “It looks a little downtown Chicago to me,” he said.
Registered Landscape Architect John Meredith of Lakeshores Landscape and Design presented the plan, which includes a path to the end of the jetty, a launching pier for kayaks at the end, an improved sand beach, and planting of grasses, plants, and trees on the grounds. Meredith and Town Chairman Jim Parent emphasized that the plan is far from final, and invited suggestions and ideas.
The beach and jetty, a man-made structure that dates to the early 1900s, are plagued by invasive species and cladophora buildup. The renovation would include the planting of grasses that would act as a natural stormwater filter at the beach and prevent erosion. If the whole plan were implemented Meredith estimated a ballpark cost of $400 – 600,000.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds could be available for the portion of the work related to water quality improvements, and other grant funding could come as part of the Scenic Byways project. Parent pointed out that the town currently has less than $500,000 in debt, and will finish paying for its marina and town hall renovations next year.
Since most of the park lies beneath the established high water mark, resident Joe Parent expressed concerns that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources would limit what the town is allowed to do and how it can maintain the park after renovations.
Once the town approves a plan, which may not come until late 2010 or early 2011, the board will consider establishing a bulkhead line ordinance, which would allow the town to lease the portion of the beach below the established bulkhead line and give the town more freedom in establishing a maintenance policy.
Jean Ehmke said she’s concerned about views from the shore if trees and tall plants are installed on the jetty. “I love going down there and seeing this wide, beautiful view open up,” she said. Dave Rack said that tall trees would cause problems for kite-boarders by messing with wind patterns. The beach is one of the best spots for kite-boarding in the state. Rack also asked for a foot-wash or shower of some type to be considered because the cladophora clings to swimmers and other users of the beach.
Jack Moneypenny, President and CEO of the Door County Visitor Bureau, expressed his support for the plan and encouraged the town to invest in the beach.
“One of our biggest selling tools here is the shoreline,” he said. “People are drawn here by the opportunity for to enjoy the water. This plan would add to our product offerings.”
Klug lauded Egg Harbor‘s beach improvements.
“Egg Harbor has become a magnet,” he said. “If attendance is any example, then there’s a good example of what people want when they come here.”
No formal decision was made on the plan, but Parent said they will continue to solicit public input and ideas.