Four Door County projects received a total of $116,750 from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Grant program to help keep the shoreline healthy and make it more accessible.
Grants are available to counties next to Lakes Michigan and Superior. Keep reading to learn more about the local projects that received funding:
The Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands received $4,250 to pay for an engineering evaluation of the Plum Island pier, breakwall and boathouse in anticipation of the island opening to the public.
“This is necessary for opening up the island to the public,” said Paul Schumacher, director of the Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands. “Just to make sure it’s safe for the public.”
If any structural issues are found, the group will address them separately. The friends group is also building a system of trails on the island and making sure the buildings are safe and secure.
Plum Island is located between the mainland of Door County and Washington Island and has been a nature preserve since 2007 when it became part of the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It is home to 325 acres of forest, migratory birds and the ruin of a lighthouse built more than a century ago. The U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service recently finished a comprehensive conservation plan to outline how it will be managed for public access for the next 15 years.
Bay Shore Blufflands
The Door County Land Trust received $27,500 to create a conservation master plan for 42,000 acres of a state natural area that includes three Land Trust preserves: Bay Shore Blufflands, Woods at Monument Point and Lautenbach Woods.
“They’re all connected by the fact that they lie along that larger strip of escarpment,” said Door County Land Trust stewardship director Jodi Milske. “The idea is to look at the system as a whole and determine what our best protection and restoration strategies would be for the larger landscape.”
The yearlong assessment of the land will help the Land Trust prepare shovel-ready restoration projects they can do in the future with different funding sources.
“We’ve always had in the back of our minds that if we get the opportunity to do a much larger scale evaluation of that entire landscape then it will help us go forward in our protection and restoration efforts,” Milske said.
West Waterfront Redevelopment
The City of Sturgeon Bay received $30,000 to help with its West Waterfront Redevelopment Project. The money will go toward continuing analysis of the structure of the old Door County Cooperative grain elevator and design a public waterfront walkway and a proposed commercial pier.
“Structurally the [grain elevator] is generally sound,” said Sturgeon Bay community development director Marty Olejniczak. “The question now is what’s it going to cost to actually rehab it for reuse and how can we design something to allow it to be reused.”
Olejniczak said some developers and tenants have shown interest in the site, but nothing formal has been decided since the analysis of the building isn’t finished.
“We still need to turn this picture from fuzzy to more clear to really bring on a developer, but there’s interest out there,” Olejniczak said. “The big question is will there still be interest when we know the cost [of fixing up the building].”
The Town of Jacksonport received $55,000 toward its tentative purchase of the Koulias property next to Lakeshore Park.
Last year the town voted to purchase the property for $766,000, but that was contingent on receiving grant help to cover the cost. It has yet to hear about receiving support from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program.
“We’re thrilled that Coastal Management came along with $55,000 and we are getting some support from Raibrook [Foundation], but it’s all contingent on Knowles-Nelson,” said Jacksonport Town Supervisor Tom Wilson.