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Minocqua Goes Forward On Fishing Pier Study

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MINOCQUA – Minocqua will turn to the professionals for help on major renovation or replacement of the municipal fishing pier in downtown Minocqua.

The town board Tuesday approved spending $5,400 to hire the engineering firm of Ayers Associates for design work and for help reeling in state and federal grants to offset construction costs. The Eau Claire firm was the lowest of three firms that submitted proposals.

About half of the 140 large wooden pilings that support the historical pier are severely rotted. Earlier this summer, a portion of the decking collapsed due to a piling giving away. They repaired the decking, but the town board appears resigned to repairing or replacing the aging structure. Earlier estimates place replacement at upwards of $435,000 with extensive rehabilitation at about $375,000.

Ayres Associates expects to complete its scope of work by Sept. 6 of this year. Among its recommendations could be a reduction in the size of the pier. In an unrelated matter, members agreed that the new pavilion at Torpy Park could not be reserved for weddings, birthday parties and the like. The town secretary had sought town board direction. Nor will reservations be allowed for individual business purposes, such as retail sales. “My concern would be that you don’t have a business come in and try to secure it for three or four weekends in the summer and tie it up and not allow the townspeople to use it,” said Lions Club member Dean Olson, who was in the audience. The Minocqua Lions spearheaded construction of the large pavilion that’s on the upper level of Torpy Park.

Sponsors of events that serve the “public purpose,” such as chamber-sponsored craft shows or fund-raising events, such as marathons, can reserve it. No mention was made of political rallies, however. Town chairman Mark Hartzheim pointed out that people can still use “a corner of the pavilion” for a birthday party; they simply can’t reserve the entire structure for that purpose. For the time being, dogs on leashes will be allowed on the park’s upper level.

Former town chairman Don Gauger, who has owned dogs, urged the board to prohibit their presence there. The Lions representative also had misgivings, noting dogs might “water” the posts. Hartzheim said the chamber of commerce promotes the area as “dog friendly,” due to the number of millennials who travel with pets. He said organizations granted use of the park are free to post their own policy on dogs during events. “We haven’t seen a lot of problems with dogs in any of our parks,” said Mark Pertile, public works director. Dog owners are picking up after their pets. The board will take a wait-and-see approach, but will likely take action if problems occur.

Hartzheim thanked the Lions members for the addition of the “beautiful new pavilion” for the town. “It looks like it belongs there,” he said, saying the design and appearance matches the other pavilion located just yards away.

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