Grand Duchess owner offers solution to sailboat dinghy issueGordon Jarvis, whose business operates the Grand Duchess riverboat that docks in Hudson during the summer months, has offered to install a larger set of docks to accommodate the dinghies and two cruise boats.
The owner of Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines may provide the solution to sailboat dinghy storage along the shore of the dike road.
Gordon Jarvis, whose business operates the Grand Duchess riverboat that docks in Hudson during the summer months, has offered to install a larger set of docks to accommodate the dinghies and two cruise boats.
The Hudson City Council approved the plan on Nov. 19, but it will be up to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to decide if it moves forward.
The City Council authorized Public Works and Parks Director Tom Zeuli to apply for the federal and state permits needed for Jarvis to replace the current docks with a larger array.
It will take the federal and state agencies at least 30 days to review the application, and they may require a public hearing on the proposal, Zeuli reported.
In September, the City Council voted 4-2 to end the practice of allowing sailboat owners to beach their dinghies along the dike road.
Dinghies are the small rowboats that owners use to get to their sailboats moored along the dike road.
The city provides 49 moorings south of the dike road, which last summer rented for $575 each.
The city’s Park Board recommended that sailboat owners no longer be allowed to improvise their own dinghy storage methods out of concern for the appearance of the dike road. A variety of small craft have been tied to the shoreline in a haphazard way that some considered to be an eyesore.
The council’s decision to order the removal of private docks on the St. Croix River north of Lakefront Park also brought the matter to a head. And the city has an ordinance prohibiting extended boat parking on city property.
Zeuli described the proposed dock setup. The main dock for the riverboats would be located where the existing one is, but the end of the new dock would be angled to the west to allow easier docking of the 305-passenger Grand Duchess and a second riverboat.
The docks for the dinghies would extend toward the west, a few feet out from the shore, and have 10 bays. The dinghies would be tied to docks extending south from a main dock.
Zeuli said another option is to install floating docks of the type used for personal watercraft that the dinghies could be placed on.
The longest trip from a dinghy dock to a sailboat mooring would be 1,300 feet, or a little less than a quarter-mile, Zeuli said.
He said the set-up would cost Jarvis a little more than $15,000, and that Jarvis wanted to be reimbursed within a three-year period.
Council members discussed how that could be done.
Alderperson Mary Yacoub suggested adding $100 to the $575 mooring fee paid by sailboat owners.
Mayor Alan Burchill said the council didn’t need to decide how to pay for the docks yet.
Asked whether mooring holders had seen plan and were in agreement with it, Zeuli said they had not. But he expressed confidence that most would find it acceptable.
Alderperson Kurt TeWinkel said he had talked to a mooring holder who thought 1,300 feet was an excessive distance to travel in a dinghy.
But some sailboat owners have been opposed to whatever dinghy storage method is proposed, TeWinkel said. “I feel this is a plan that accommodates everyone.”
TeWinkel reported that the person he talked to also felt it was unfair for mooring holders to bear the entire expense of the new docks. Jarvis, in effect, would be getting a new dock for free, the boat owner reportedly said.
Jarvis pays fee of about $1,000 a year to the city for the right to have the riverboat dock, Zeuli said.
Zeuli said he counted 38 dinghies on the dike road before owners were required to remove them. He said a few sailboat owners launch their dinghies from St. Croix Marina.
Zeuli said mooring holders could use small electric motors on their dinghies to make the trip to and from their sailboats easier. He said some owners might choose to launch their dinghies from the Lakefront Park boat ramp.
In other business, the City Council:
--Once more postponed the deadline for the Azul Tequila restaurant and bar to put its liquor license to use. The owners were granted approval for the establishment in a strip mall at the corner of Carmichael and Hanley roads in late February of this year. In April, the restaurant was allowed a 120-day extension to the original deadline for opening, and in August was given a second 120-day extension.
The latest deadline requires the restaurant and bar to open by Jan. 1, 2013. Representatives of the restaurant said the recent delays were caused by an order from the city’s fire inspector to relocate some sprinkler heads, and a wait for furniture arriving from Mexico to clear the border customs.
--Scheduled a public hearing for 6:50 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, on an application by Ryan J. Humphrey to operate a Rite Ride taxicab service in the city.
--Approved a low bid of $20,964 from Ewald Auto Group of southeast Wisconsin for a Chevrolet Equinox that will be used by Building Inspector David Gray.
--Authorized spending $11,800 to replace a computer server at City Hall and contract with Affiliated Computer Services Inc. to host and maintain the software. The funding will come from money set aside for electronic door keys for City Hall, but not used.
--On a 5-1 vote, approved a resolution incorporating the city’s Outdoor Recreation Plan into the county’s Outdoor Recreation Plan. Zeuli said the action would increase the city’s odds of receiving state and federal grants for park development. Yacoub opposed the resolution. “I just have questions,” she said.
--Approved the painting of a crosswalk on First Street at the south side of Walnut Street.
--Approved hiring Overwhelmed To Organized to organize the storage closets in the Public Safety Building at a cost of $1,000.