Gibraltar Will Vote on New Beach Bathrooms in October

Gibraltar voters will get another chance to select a design for bathrooms at the Fish Creek beach in late October.

The town board solicited designs from Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH), the design firm that the town has worked with in redesigning the beach, and Sturgeon Bay architect Rick Toyne. At its Sept. 18 meeting the board chose to go with the three options presented by Toyne, which they deemed more aesthetically appealing.

Option 1. Gibraltar voters will be presented with three options for beach bathrooms in a late October town meeting.

Estimates for the three options range from $135,200 on the low end for an option with no interior space, to $218,400 for options with interior space and a small porch area. All three options are much smaller and less expensive than the option brought to voters in July, when an $850,000 bathroom and gathering space was soundly rejected by town electors.

Option 2

The new designs eliminate the gathering space, scale back the number of bathrooms, and reduce the overall size of the building. Each design features four family restrooms. Two of the designs include interior space and benches, while option three offers only exterior entrances to each bathroom, the more common design.

Toyne said the advantage of a design with interior space is that only the main door would need to be winterized and sealed. It would also require locking only one door after hours. The Town of Gibraltar has invested in a timing system that locks all of the town’s bathroom doors at the same time, saving the time of having maintenance workers lock and unlock all the doors each day and on weekends.

Option 3

The board asked Toyne to revise the designs to spruce up west-facing exteriors and include urinals.

The board did not set a date for the public vote, but it will be no earlier than Oct. 10. A notice will be sent to all addresses on the tax rolls in advance of the vote and Town Chair Dick Skare said many more details will be available on the town website ( before the vote.

Beach Design Affirmed

The board discussed several other elements of the beach design, including the parking configuration. The board previously selected a design featuring limited parking spaces and a drop-off area. That design greatly reduces the parking on the beach site to open up green space, with much more parking available across the street behind the community center.

Skare brought up two other options from SEH for further consideration, but the board reaffirmed its decision to put only limited parking on the site.

“The grass at the beach is worth more than a parking spot at the beach,” said Dwayne Daubner. “When you look at what we paid for that piece of property, parking spots are cheaper behind the town hall.”

At its Sept. 25 meeting the board will get details and costs for the stormwater filtration system that will be installed underground at the property. That system will likely eliminate the need for an outflow pipe at the beach, which would eliminate the need to rebuild the pier immediately and greatly reduce costs to do so, Skare said.

“A simple, small dock could be $100,000,” Skare said, rather than the $720,000 price tag included in a summary sent to voters in July. The dock on the site now is in disrepair, but Barb McKesson cautioned not to remove the pier until they’re sure they know what they want to do.

“Once it’s out, it’s out,” she said, acknowledging that the town would not be able to put one back in down the road.

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