Groundbreaking Launches Graham Park Project

A small group of civic and government leaders gathered Monday morning to witness the groundbreaking on the Graham Park project, which will enhance the green space at the foot of the Oregon Street bridge in downtown Sturgeon Bay.

Approximately one acre will be developed at the waterfront location by Sturgeon Bay contractor Sterling Landscape Services. The company designed the project and has dedicated a five-year, Adopt-a-Park-type commitment to oversee all maintenance and upkeep, ensuring that all plantings will become established and the water feature will be maintained. Sterling owner Lars Braschnewitz said he intended to move equipment to the site Monday and get to work Tuesday.

Destination Sturgeon Bay is overseeing the project. Pam Seiler, executive director, said its start offers a nice opportunity to focus on a positive development.

Sterling Landscape Services has designed and will construct the privately funded Graham Park project, scheduled for a May 2021 completion. Photo by D.A. Fitzgerald.

“This project is perhaps more important now than it even was when we started talking about the concept over a year ago,” Seiler said.

Sterling Landscape has designed the park with open space, gardens, a custom water feature designed by local artist Rob Soukup, amphitheater seating for relaxation and artistic activities, and free community games including ping-pong, bag toss, chess and checkers.

The park is named for the Graham family, some of whose members helped to shape Sturgeon Bay’s early history. Oliver Perry Graham staked the first official claim in Sturgeon Bay in 1849 before moving with his family to Egg Harbor. Oliver’s younger brother, Robert; and Robert’s wife, Josephine, remained in Sturgeon Bay with their eight children, sinking deep roots into the community.

The project has been funded solely through donors and community members. To date, $367,000 has been raised toward what’s expected to be a roughly $450,000 project. Additional donors are needed to help get the project completed by May 2021. A community-support program – sales of commemorative brick pavers, trees and park benches – is also being organized. To learn more about both efforts, contact Pam Seiler at [email protected] or 920.743.6246.