This is what I saw this morning when I was out walking the dog. I figured they were dredging the harbor and I wanted to learn more about what they were doing and why. But I didn’t really know who was “in charge” of the Kenosha Harbor, so I had to do some snooping around. Of course, the first thing I did was go to my trusty search engine and that lead me to the Kenosha Public Works Department. When I called their office, I spoke to a perplexed person who didn’t know who took care of the harbor either. She put me on hold for a minute or so, and then came back to transfer me to the Parks Department. There, the person was also perplexed but she transferred me to someone, who it turned out was exactly the right person for me to speak with. All in all, not too painful of a process.
I spoke with Jeff Warnock, Park Superintendent, who gave me the information I needed plus much more. First of all, about the dredging in the harbor. That is being done by the US Army Corps of Engineers in conjunction with the city. The dredging is necessary because of the buildup of silt that settles in the harbor. When that happens not only does the harbor become shallower (in some places barely three feet, according to Jeff), it also plugs up the water intake pipe for the water used by the north side of the city. In order to keep the port open, the government requires this dredging, which on average takes place every 5 years. Although there will not be a Tall Ships Festival here this summer (a victim of the economy), we all look forward to seeing the ships here in the future and the dredging will make that possible.
The process involves a type of drilling that forces air down under the silt to push the water up. The water is then screened to remove the solids and the return the cleaner water to the harbor. The solid material is hauled away and will end up on the north side of Simmons Island where it will become part of the beach – a good example of recycling and a win-win situation.
During my conversation, I also learned about another project that will be taking place in the harbor, perhaps as early as this week. This involves some changes to the dock near the Kenosha Yacht Club. I will watch for it and try to get some pictures of that, too, but I have satisfied my need to know more about the activity along the harbor and will leave it at that for today.
During our conversation, Jeff and I both agreed that most people here in Kenosha undervalue the harbor and lakefront. I do believe that is slowly changing, as evidence by the numbers of people who were out enjoying it over the weekend. When I was on the home page of the Park Department, I read their Mission Statement. It is this: To advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people. I want them to know that it is “mission accomplished” for me.