Dilapidated South Side Boat Launch Facilities Prompt Meeting

June 2, 2011

Dilapidated Southside Boat Launch Facilities Prompt Meeting


Supervisor Marina Dmitrijevic, Milwaukee County Parks Officials, and WDNR invited to address concerns


A meeting for the Southside SportsFishermen will be held on Monday June 6th from 5:30PM-7:30PM at the St. Francis Public Library. The library is located at 4230 S. Nicholson Ave. in St Francis. The SouthSide SportsFishermen is an online network of fishermen and boaters who live in southern Milwaukee County and use the boat launch facilities at Bender Park in Oak Creek and South Shore Park in Bay View.


Boating residents of southern Milwaukee County are very concerned about the disparity in funding between Parks department boat launch facilities serving the northern part of Milwaukee County and those serving residents who live on the south side of Milwaukee and the southern suburbs. While McKinley Marina on the north side has four well maintained docks, a beautiful fish cleaning facility, restrooms with extended hours, and ample parking, the facilities at South Shore and Bender Park suffer from extreme neglect. South Shore has three rickety piers with damaged or missing rub rails and cleats, an oft-broken fish cleaning station, and restrooms that are open very limited hours. Bender Park just completed a long delayed dredging project that has left only two short piers in the water with the remaining piers broken up and strewed around the parking lot.


While the fishing off Milwaukee County is truly a world class fishery, the launch ramp facilities are third world at best. In fact, the Milwaukee County launch ramps are known as the worst launch facilities on Lake Michigan due to years of neglect. It would be easy to lay the blame on the current fiscal crisis facing Milwaukee County until one learns that in the last ten years, Milwaukee County has tallied over 1.2 million dollars in revenue from launch ramp fees. Wisconsin state administrative code NR 1.91 requires all launch fees collected to be used for the operation and maintenance of the launch ramp facilities.


So how is it that Milwaukee County launch fees are significantly higher than those of superior launch ramp facilities in Racine or Port Washington if all launch fees must be spent on the launch ramp facilities?


That is why the Southside SportsFishermen are getting together for a meeting in “real life” on Monday June 6th. We have invited County Supervisors Marina Dmitrejevic, Patricia Jursik, and Paul Cesarz, as well as representatives of Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Milwaukee County Parks department, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Public Access program to get some answers as to why the Milwaukee County Parks launch ramp facilities are the worst in Wisconsin.


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