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Bay Beach Plans for the Future


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May 18, 2011

When the Zippin Pippin roller-coaster opens Saturday, it could be just the start of expansion at the Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay.

The Green Bay Parks Department gave Action 2 News at sneak peek Wednesday at Bay Beach's proposed master plan.

A landscaping firm in Madison helped put it together.

Some ideas including adding seven more rides along the central "spine" in the middle of the park (one of them could be a large Ferris wheel), an ice skating rink behind the pavilion, a manicured beach beyond that, and a boardwalk along the bay shore.

"One comment that we hear repeatedly is, 'Where's the beach? This is Bay Beach but there's no beach.' So we wanted to incorporate water into the development of the master plan," Dan Ditscheit of the Green Bay Parks Department said.

Keep in mind, there is no timeline for this plan -- it's more conceptual than anything.

And the funding isn't there, so it's anyone's guess when this would happen. It could be five years or 50 years.

The Parks Department wants to make Bay Beach a year-round destination -- hence the ice skating rink -- but the city says what it learned over the years from public hearings was that people want to keep the historic character of the park intact.

"We did not want to be another Great America or Disney World. Bay Beach has its own niche, and its niche is affordability, family friendly, and historic," Ditscheit said.

An 850-foot causeway was built in December, connecting Bay Beach to Renard Island.

We met with a representative with the Army Corps of Engineers who says the island, which was a dumping site for contaminated material, is one-third of the way capped.

"As soon as the thaw starts to come out of the ground, they couldn't move on the island because it was just too mucky, but however they do plan out on coming back out in the middle of summer to haul some more material out there," Tom O'Bryan of the corps' Detroit district said.

As for that contamination, O'Bryan said, "The contaminated dredged material that's been in there many years will receive about an eight-foot cap of clean material on top of it, and by far, it will be clean for everybody to do whatever type of activity they want to out there."

Brown County has responsibility for the management of Renard Island.

We're told at this point there are no plans for it as far as development, but ideas have been thrown around for a while to turn it into a recreational island with a pavilion or picnic area.


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