TEAMING UP TO make the wharf project possible were, from left, volunteer Joe Norton, Wes Stibb from Outdoor Impact, Green Lake Renewal Project board member Wendy Schultz, Green Lake Public Works Director Glen McCarty, Green Lake Renewal Project President Mary-Jo Johnson and Green Lake Renewal Project board member Ryan Meiborg. Jonathan Bailey photo
Deacon Mills Park project nears completion
by Andrea Lyke
Imagine you are a vacationer who spends the summer on Green Lake.
Your motorboat zips you across the water to Deacon Mills Park where you plan to dock for a few hours as coffee, downtown shopping and other activities tempt you.
Boats already occupy all five spots at the Deacon Mills wharf.
Disappointed, you head home.
Thanks to the Downtown Green Lake Renewal Project board and the City of Green Lake this scenario no longer exists.
This summer, Green Lake residents and visitors can enjoy a new wharf on Dartford Bay.
Initial suggestions to replace the wharf began when the board surveyed Green Lake residents and second-homeowners about their thoughts for community improvement.
Better docking consistently appeared in the top three suggestions on surveys.
The six members of the Downtown Green Lake Renewal Project board worked with the City as well as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to receive permits and a contract for the project in fall 2010.
Running into no unforeseen delays, the board accomplished these processes quicker than expected.
“It’s gone extremely smoothly,” said Downtown Green Lake Renewal board member Ryan Meiborg of efforts to raise the necessary $250,000 funding.
The entire fund-raising was completed within one month.
Sixty percent of the funds came from private donations from a mail-in fund-raiser while the other 40 percent came from two grants; the board worked with the city to attain a grant from the Wisconsin DNR and another from a waterways grant.
The city also set up a fund for future maintenance costs.
In order to pay for the brick pathway along the wharf, the team created a “Buy a Brick” program.
Citizens paid to have their names engraved on the bricks.
“It went over very well,” Meiborg said. “It paid for itself.”
Johnston Pile Driving of Omro won the bid to dredge, riprap, and construct the wharf.
Outdoor Impact and Bloch’s Farm began creation of the brick path at the end of March. They also provided landscaping and native plantings to accompany the wharf.
The old docking site had no native plantings.
While the past docking landing accommodated five to six boats, the new one will enable 12 to 15 boats to dock for a few hours.
The new wharf provides lighting, the brick sidewalk, four patios with benches and a handicap approach.
Another vital improvement is the new size of the wharf.
The old wharf was 70-feet long and had a depth of 6 inches to 3 feet.
The new wharf is 270-feet long, six-feet wide, and 5- to 6-feet deep.
Hydraulic dredging, from October 2011 to January 2012, accounts for the change in depth.
The DNR strongly recommended this environmentally friendly, sediment-removal process. A barge sucked up the sediment from the lakebed and pumped it into drainage bins in Deacon Mills Park.
The water in the sediment dissipated. Most of the remains were spread in the park to improve the park’s drainage system. The rest went to a farmer’s field.
The board decided on a plan for the wharf that would be the best application for the park.
“People get to come into the city by boat, have a place to park their boat and enjoy what downtown Green Lake has to offer,” Meiborg said.
He also appreciates the cooperative efforts of the many people involved in the wharf project.
“Thank you to the community and for how the city of Green Lake [and our board] worked together to do this project,” Meiborg said.
The board expects the new Deacon Mills wharf to be completed by Memorial Day.