Seeking a Vision for the Nautical Drive Waterfront

After receiving public feedback last week, a waterfront planning and design firm based in St. Joseph, Michigan, is putting together a plan on how best to use the waterfront area on city-owned property at the end of Nautical Drive next to the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club.

Representatives from Edgewater Resources conducted a visioning session Dec. 12 at City Hall, where they also presented various options for making improvements along the waterfront as part of their three-day visit to Sturgeon Bay. 

Suzie Fromson, a landscape architect with Edgewater Resources, said the firm will put together concept alternatives for those options. 

“Once we’ve heard from everyone – all these different factors – we start drawing, start sketching,” she said. “How do some of these concepts come together? Are there short-term solutions that could work now to meet some of the needs, keeping options open for future development that maybe needs to be funded over many years?”

Fromson said the firm will consider the unique character of Sturgeon Bay and Door County, the needs of multiple user groups and how to improve access to the waterfront. She said a summary report would be put together by the firm early next year. 

Possible options suggested for the site include: the Sail Training Foundation constructing a storage facility; locating the National Estuarine Research Reserve visitors center there, should it be awarded to the city; or building a pier to replace the former “E” dock.

Edgewater Resources president Greg Weykamp said Sturgeon Bay currently doesn’t have a lot of accessible public space along the city’s waterfront.

“Anything that goes on that waterfront space, in our opinion, has to be a water-dependent use,” he said. “This isn’t a spot for a basketball court. You can put a basketball court anywhere. You can put tennis courts anywhere.”

Weykamp said the improvement of the waterfront area should include “authenticity” for Sturgeon Bay, rather than be converted into looking like a different community, and take into consideration “what’s appropriate in terms of scale, types of use, quality and characteristics.”