City proposing to fund plan for Southport Beach House

Beach elevation (C. Cartwright photo, 2002)

Mayor Bosman of the City of Kenosha, along with Alderman Michael Orth, chairman of the city’s Park Commission, announced today that, in order to more completely address the condition and usage of the Southport Beach House, a master plan should be completed for Southport Park which includes the Southport Beach House structure.

Funding for the plan, which is estimated at $30,000, will be proposed by the mayor to be included in the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for 2013. The master plan process has been used effectively by the city for other parks
such as Strawberry Creek, Simmons Island and Petzke Park. The process allows the Southport Park neighborhood, as well as the greater community, to participate in the development of the plan.

A recent assessment of the Southport Beach House determined that, while the building was not in imminent danger of failure, significant repairs are required to extend the building’s life. A project cost for complete restoration has
been estimated at $3 million. Other less than full restoration alternatives have yet to be explored.

Mayor Bosman said it made sense to address the future needs of Southport Park as a whole, and not just the beach house.  “We are looking for a long-term solution to the park, one that includes maximizing its usage and provides park
amenities as required by the community, rather than just taking action on a single item,” Bosman said.

The 29-acre park includes walking and biking trails, sandlot fields, a picnic shelter, playground equipment and beachfront on Lake Michigan, as well as the Southport Beach House, which was first constructed between 1935-41 through the Federal WPA program.

Orth said Southport Park is a valuable asset to the community as the city’s southernmost park along the Lake Michigan shoreline.  “The community will benefit by developing a master plan to polish the jewel we have in Southport Park and the Southport Beach House,” Orth said.

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