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Bay Beach renovations could change due to high water and funding shortfall

Pictured is where the beach at Bay Beach would be constructed.
Pictured is where the beach at Bay Beach would be constructed.(WBAY)
Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 11:10 PM CDT
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Two years ago, the city put together a plan to construct a beach and pier at Bay Beach Amusement Park.

To this day,neither of those items exist.

“We are short of funding for this project,” said Green Bay Parks Director, Dan Ditscheit.

According to city documents, they’re short $1,190,347. The money is supposed to come from fundraising efforts and grants.

“Previous Mayor Jim Schmitt tackled the fundraising efforts and his goal was $1 million and to date he has $723,000,” said Ditscheit.

Another million is supposed to come from grant funds, but Ditscheit says the city has only secured about $425,000.

Alder Jesse Brunette suggested putting the project on hold until the funds could be raised.

“It sets a bad precedent if we don't stick to what a stated fundraising goal is, prior to moving forward with a project,” said Brunette.

The city does have $5 million in borrowed money for the renovations.

Staff is recommending moving forward with phase one of the project which includes installing the beach, bathhouse with concession stand, paving the parking lot by the Zippin Pippin, utility and site work.

Friends of Bay Beach, the fundraising organization, have a different opinion.

“Basically with this high water, and I talked to NOAA this morning and NOAA is predicting a four and half to six inch increase by the 15th of July; it seems like a bad time to invest $2 million into the beach,” said David Charles, President of Friends of Bay Beach.

Alder Kathy Lefebvre is also against starting construction of the beach due to high water levels.

At this point city staff hope to move forward with construction of the beach this fall. Total cost of phase one of the project is $3.4 million.

The city council is expected to discuss plans for the beach at its next meeting.

The pier would be in phase two, and construction wouldn’t start for a few more years.

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