Why is this Public Waterfront important to me, our community, and our many visitors?
I moved to Sturgeon Bay at 13, torn from big city Milwaukee when my father, Raymond Pesch, took a managerial position with Roen Steamship & Salvage.
It did not take long to be in awe of the water all around me and what it represented.
But, I also saw how visitors came through Sturgeon Bay, often not stopping, moving on to “quainter” areas north of Sturgeon Bay.
Now, we have an exciting opportunity to invite those travelers to the north to stop to spend some time (and money) with us here. Get to know us.
We have a developer eager to build his hotel facing Madison Street, just before our historic bridge. We have the Bay Loft apartments going up across the street, adding significantly to surrounding businesses.
And, we have a large, vibrant, enthusiastic group of longtime residents and newer residents who want to preserve a small parcel at our historic West Side waterfront, where one of the few remaining icons of the West Side remain, the granary, once the backdrop for the Door County Co-op.
Here might be a farmers market, possibly year-round, more bike access, fishing, kayak launch, picnic areas, potentially a picturesque ice rink, and so much more. Most important, and the biggest draw, is the water, what drew me in more than 60 years ago.
My parents would be proud to see this kind of responsible growth as my civil engineer father often said we do not own the environment, it owns us and we need to respect it. My mother spent decades volunteering to beautify downtown Sturgeon Bay with the streetside flower arrangements and in county environmental efforts. I was once a “newer resident,” 60 years ago. I came to embrace and love this area as the Friends do.
Let’s all work together to have this happen. It will be a win-win for everyone. We do not need to waste resources and time through a trial beginning this week.
Marianne Ewig (Pesch)
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.