Letter to the Editor: Ad Hoc Waterfront, Yawn Inspiring

Laurel Hauser described the glaringly obvious flaws comprising the Sturgeon Bay Ad Hoc Waterfront Committee “plan,” recommendations on July 16, 2019, when she wrapped up their presentation with the word “compromise,” and the phrase, “nobody got everything they wanted.”

While genuine and sincere thanks for the committee member efforts is entirely warranted and the process to obtain ideas and public input is to be heartily congratulated, the various “stakeholders,” should have bowed out completely at that point and handed their findings over to professional planners without obvious self-interests in any part of the project.

Ad Hoc planning facilitators urged committee members to ignore financial costs and obviously the current city development agreement with the SBHSF was completely ignored. Civility and the “kum-ba-yah” moments of compromise were indeed proper tools for the process, but were not the “product,” requested of the committee. An inspiring plan was the goal, and that plan largely failed to materialize.

As examples, contrary to the “towers,” framing the park to draw people in, this immediately presents “book-ended prison guard towers,” absolutely further blocking the existing views of the waterfront for any passers-by. The DCMM should be completely prevented from expanding either parallel to the bulkhead or eleven stories vertically, both being totally unwarranted intrusions into public space.

The “granary,” is the authentic, logical centerpiece to this planning, along with retaining the fleet of tugboats. Following the historic Ahnapee rail spur “trailhead,” into this park to “discover,” the working waterfront is the visitor’s reward and the exploratory challenge and incentive to draw people in. 

Each Ad Hoc “stakeholder,” getting something they wanted, either preserving their parking, or their view, or their art or their facility 

expansion are counter-intuitive to creating a proper waterfront plan and are the very reasons the entire Ad Hoc committee should have turned over their ideas and findings to the already identified, visionary professional planners.

Stephanie Trenchard was absolutely correct in summarizing that “art,” was relegated to an afterthought. The Ad Hoc, between the bridges planning, exudes irrefutable mendacity and piecemeal petty self-interests, unworthy of further public attention.

Donald Freix

Fish Creek, Wisconsin