Main Street committee creating lakefront district to provide more vehicle spaces, improve aesthetics
As Port Washington officials move ahead with a controversial plan to sell a city-owned waterfront parking lot, they are also working on plans to create a distinct marina district with an eye toward solving some of the parking issues that have been expressed.
The marina district plan, which is being created by Port Main Street Inc.’s Design Committee, is intended “to make the marina a special place, to enhance and embellish it,” said Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development.
Tetzlaff cited a recent study that showed boaters are seeking amenities when they dock, saying that’s something the city can build on to improve the marina.
While downtown is nearby, the aesthetics of the area can be improved with the district plan, he said.
“Right now, we have a massive parking lot they look at when they come in. We have the wall at the back of the Port Shopping Center,” Tetzlaff said.
Right now, the Design Committee has two marina district plans it is looking to merge into one. That plan would then be brought to the Harbor Commission and other interested groups for their input before being forwarded to the Common Council, he said.
Both plans create an entry to the marina and seek to make it a destination, Tetzlaff said.
But perhaps most important today, they also take into account the potential loss of trailer parking spots if the city sells a portion of the slip next to the former Victor’s restaurant, he said.
At least a portion of that lot, which accommodates about 22 trailers, would be needed for any residential development on the site, something called for in the downtown redevelopment plan, Tetzlaff said.
“The redevelopment plan anticipated some encroachment,” he said.
Although plans for the redevelopment of the Victor’s property haven’t been received by the city, Tetzlaff said officials want to be prepared.
The main way in which the plan deals with the need for more parking is to make many of the spaces in the marina parking lot north of Washington Street do double duty, Tetzlaff said.
These spaces would be designated for trailers in the morning hours, when fishermen need them, then be available for cars later in the day, when there’s a demand for those spaces, he said.
“They (Design Committee members) understand parking is important, but the parking has to be dual purpose,” Tetzlaff said. “You can’t have all that empty for seven or eight months.”
There would still be a loss of some spaces from the north slip parking lot, which could be sold to accommodate the development of The Blues Factory, a Paramount blues-related entertainment complex, Tetzlaff said, but the committee is continuing to try and address that.
“We’re trying to have no net loss or gain,” Tetzlaff said.
The loss of trailer stalls was one expressed by the Harbor Commission earlier this month.
To ensure the marina district plan addresses the commission’s concerns, Tetzlaff said, it will work with Lisa Rathke, the assistant harbormaster.
“We definitely want to hear their concerns and address them,” he said. “That’s vital.”