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Dredging Needed at Bender Park — Again

Just a year after a dredging project shut down the Bender Park boat launch, problems have again cropped up for boaters accessing Lake Michigan.

Oak Creek's is only a year removed from a dredging project that cost Milwaukee County roughly $280,000.

But what was supposed to be at least a five-year fix didn't come close.

Thanks in part to a mild winter, the sediment that was removed has piled back up to the point that more dredging is needed for boaters to launch at Bender Park, County Supervisor Steve Taylor said.

The launch hasn't yet shut down, but it's become difficult for boaters to access Lake Michigan, with some areas near the launch only 18 to 24 inches deep, Taylor said.

County officials are studying their options and have sent soil samples to the Department of Natural Resources for its review.

Taylor doesn't expect any easy solutions. A long-term, permanent fix, with a price tag of $5 million, appears unlikely.

"Unfortunately that's not do-able in these economic times," Taylor said.

Last year, the Bender Park boat launch while a contractor removed sediment and opened up a 45-foot wide channel.

The launch is a popular place for boaters to access Lake Michigan. Oak Creek Alderman Mike Toman said it's used year-round, with many boaters coming from miles away.

Al Douglas June 25, 2012 at 01:46 AM
5 million! This is a fine example of our governments painful lack of competence. How in the world could our government build a 40 million dollar boat launch on Lake Michigan that requires a 5 million dollar improvement to keep it open? Do we really think 5 million is going to work when the last 40 didn't? I think I'm going to be sick.....
peter schurrer June 25, 2012 at 10:31 AM
Now thier trying to blame the mild winters for poor planning by engineers ? Looks like that 40 million is just the tip of the iceberg. The lake is there for all to enjoy,provided you can get out on it and afford it.
Mark B June 25, 2012 at 02:24 PM
If you're gonna do a job, do it right the first time. Last year they put a band-aid on a gaping wound and the money spent was flushed down the toilet. They can dredge til the cows come home and every year the gap will fill up because there is a basic design flaw that is not being addressed. An additional berm of rocks is needed to deflect that sand and silt from getting into the gap. Apparently that is cost prohibitive. I'm afraid we are stuck with what we have. really too bad because it's a great park.
Al Douglas June 26, 2012 at 01:21 AM
How does South Milwaukee Yacht Club maintain a channel without millions of tax payer dollars/
Cory September 16, 2012 at 01:39 PM
That's the reason why Grant Park Boat Launch closed down....They had to dredge it nearly every day because they didn't have a breakwall to stop the sand from piling up in the gap. So they spent millions of dollars to build Bender Park and built a nice breakwall around the launch area but never put any thought into building one to save the gap to get into that area. That's what they need to avoid the dredging every year-few years. The wind and waves from the south and south east will just keep filling up the opening without a wall. There was also talk about putting campsites in at Bender. They should go for it, they have plenty of land that is very underutilized anyways. And that would bring in some extra money. Have a self registration post to collect money and all they'd need to do is bring an extra dumpster or 2.

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