Liberty Grove Gathers Ideas for Gills Rock Shoreline

Dozens of residents turned out Jan. 14 to submit ideas for the future use of the Gills Rock shoreline parcels purchased by the Town of Liberty Grove in October.

The properties include about 625 feet of shoreline, several old fishing workshop buildings, a pier that is is in need of upgrades and a waterfront view considered among the best on the peninsula. The town purchased the three parcels for $1.45 million.

Charlie Henriksen, a longtime commercial fisherman, said that if the launch were made available to commercial fishermen to lease, there would be substantial interest. Henriksen also suggested the committee investigate Fishtown, a community in Leland, Mich. Leaders of that community have preserved historic fishing shacks and piers as a working fishing museum with shops and restaurants incorporated into the shacks.

Mike Bharke of the Door County Environmental Council said his organization is “very supportive of protecting it as a fishing village.” He suggested the town determine the location of the ordinary high-water mark.

Frank Forkert, who has been involved in researching possibilities for the property since the town first discussed the purchase in 2008, said the site could be used for a marina of no more than 45 slips if desired. He also said the Department of Natural Resources has long desired a harbor of refuge in the area for boater safety.

A breakwall and marina in the deep waters of Gills Rock would likely substantially exceed the $6.5 million the Village of Egg Harbor paid to reconstruct its marina in 2010.

Other citizen suggestions include:

Public boat launch

Nature and learning center

Open green space and benches

Use dark-sky lighting if any is needed

Accessible kayak launch

Minimal parking on the shoreline parcels