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Plans Advance to Upgrade Minocqua Boat Launches

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Minocqua’s two busiest boat launches will undergo significant upgrades sometime in 2023, according to a plan fleshed out Tuesday by the town board in consultation with an engineer from Strand Associates.

Strand Associates project manager Zach Simpson and the supervisors discuessed the challenges and upgrade possibilities of the municipal boat launch adjacent to the town offices and the other launch adjacent to the Thirsty Whale restaurant.

Both launches see heavy traffic during the summer, including from local companies that rent boats and personal water crafts.

The Strand Associates representative sought direction from supervisors on their preference of the configuration of boat launches and adjacent piers and the type of materials to be used for the piers.

One idea for the Schoolhouse Bay launch (next to the town offices) is to construct duo launch areas with a pier in the middle. That would allow two boats to be launched at the same time. Currently, the single launch pad is just wide enough for two vehicles and boats to launch, but most boaters are uncomfortable doing so.

An immediate and low cost option to address traffic congestion at the Thirsty Whale launch is to post one-way vehicular traffic on the small parking lot, according to the board.

Supervisor Bill Stengl asked Simpson to design the Schoolhouse Bay launch so it was not quite so steep.

The board discarded a suggestion that the town place a porta potty at this site. A sign will be posted directing boaters to the town toilet facilities a block to the west.

Stengl said he wants the renovations to reflect the “world class” offerings of the Minocqua area. As such, he said, the town should install “robust commercial” floating docks with concrete deck panels. Another option would be synthetic deck panels.

Supervisors aren’t scheduling renovation work for next year, because they want to pursue state and federal grants to cover a significant portion of the costs. Simpson said one grant source has a February 2022 deadline for submissions; the other is in June 2022.

Director of public work Mark Pertile agreed that the town could get by another year with some minimal maintenance on the piers.

Simpson will return by Nov. 1 with designs and costs for the board to review. Final designs for both launches will be completed by Jan. 1, according to a timetable.

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