Eight days to make $800K dock repairs
Heavy-duty dock repairs are underway in Manitowoc this week after a storm ripped through Wisconsin just weeks ago. People expecting to ride the S.S. Badger across Lake Michigan are relying on an $800,000 state grant. The money will fix loading equipment needed for the ferry to operate and other damage caused by the storms, but it has to be done in the next eight days.
Urban Geimer of Two Rivers looked on as workers re-built Thursday, pointing out to Action 2 News what he’d seen, saying, “that all got washed away, that was all gone.”
"For the last eight years I've been here almost every day for the car ferry,” said Geimer, who proudly wears an S.S. Badger jacket every day that he bought on the boat years ago. "I was down at The Fat Seagull tavern down here and somebody told me that there was some damage."
"The people that come off the car ferry— they normally will come stop here,” said Newey Boonperm who works at The Fat Seagull.
Boonperm is among Restaurant workers nearby also breathing a sigh of relief the S.S. Badger will run its normal season. "We are happy that the dock is getting fixed because it does bring a lot of business towards this way. Manitowoc needs all the business we can get especially downtown."
Many in the Manitowoc area couldn't believe their eyes when they first laid eyes on the damage the strong winds, snow and waves brought to the dock.
"They're working hard, hopefully they get it ready by the 11th,” said another onlooker, William Rodewald of Manitowoc.
For Rodewald, the history on the carferry runs deep. “My first trip on the carferry was December of '65,” he said.
Asked if he would be riding the S.S. Badger this season, he responded, “In June my family's going. It's an enjoyable trip, believe me. This is a state highway through here, and the carferry is part of that state highway. So we gotta keep it goin!"