Letter to the Editor: Mariner Park Boat Launch?

Based on meeting minutes and draft plans, the Town of Liberty Grove Plan Commission is now considering using a large portion of Mariner Park as a boat launch and a vehicle and boat trailer parking lot. This, even though currently there is a perfectly good existing boat launch, open to the public, on the adjoining property owned by the Weborg family.

The decision to purchase the Mariner Park property for just under $1.5 million was made during a 2019 Town Board meeting which followed an earlier 111-19 vote by registered town voters in favor of the purchase. As you may recall, purchase by the town was predicated on declarations made by then Town Chairman John Lowry, who stated, “the people would decide the use of the property.” 

During the spring of 2019, the town conducted a survey in which town taxpayers were asked to prioritize 18 uses for the park. The top three priorities of the 644 respondents were, in order of preference: 1) create a public park with walking paths and benches; 2) refurbish existing docks; and 3) construct a small pavilion. 

The fourth priority was to create a “safe harbor” with a launch ramp only. Unfortunately, this fourth choice – with the requisite vehicle and boat trailer parking – would require using much of the green space in this small gem of a park. Why would two boat launches be needed within 100 yards of each other?

Mariner Park, and the proposed improvements, will cost Liberty Grove taxpayers millions of dollars before it’s completed. It’s only right that taxpayers again be provided the opportunity to vote on park plans prior to being finalized. After all, Town of Liberty Grove taxpayers are the ones paying for it! If most tax-paying voters believe that another boat launch is needed, let them say so.

Lastly, the town should post all proposed Mariner Park plans online so registered town voters can cast informed votes. Perhaps this could be coordinated with the spring election?

Steve Eatough

Liberty Grove, Wisconsin