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County looks at upgrades to Miller Dam boat landing

Taylor County is looking at replacing a boat landing on Miller Dam (Chequamegon Waters) Flowage following complaints of damage to boats.

Area waters saw extensive use this past summer as COVID-19 restrictions limited other activities.

According to county buildings and grounds director Joe Svejda, he has received reports that five or six boats have been damaged at the south boat landing near the playground in the county park on the flowage. Svejda said they had not gotten any reports prior to a resident contacting him about it and stating it was an ongoing problem.

Svejda brought the concerns to the county’s buildings and grounds committee at the Nov. 11 meeting. He said for now, his staff dropped a load of 2 to 6 inch rock at the base of the landing to address concerns now and buy time before they are able to do a longterm fix.

Miller Dam is a fairly shallow body of water, however there is a deep drop off just past the end of the boat landing. Svejda said this is most likely due to people power loading their boats onto trailers which pushes material away from the base.

County forest and recreation administrator Jake Walcisak said his department had done a rehab on a boat landing in 2006 which required state and county permits. He said there are grants available which would cover up to half the cost of the project, however he noted that any grants would likely delay the project until 2022. Another funding option would be to look at county power line impact fee funds to help pay for the work.

Walcisak said the ideal solution would be to replace the existing landing with a longer and wider poured-inplace ramp which would accommodate the boats being used on the lake as well as reduce maintenance.

Committee member James Gebauer agreed with the need to do something noting the lake is the county’s top water resource. “It is an investment in the future,” Gebauer said.

Committee members directed Svedja to move forward with design and planning on ways to upgrade the landing.

In a related matter, Svedja reported that they had been approached by an individual wishing to donate a new dock to replace the one currently in place by the boat landing. Committee members gave their blessing for Svedja to continue to work with the individual on options.

In other action, committee members:

_ Are moving forward with plans to open Perkinstown Wintersports Area this winter. The big question is the chalet and what kind of access will be allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Gebauer said they will likely need to restrict the number of people allowed inside and adjust the flow of traffic in the building. Other changes will include requiring only closed packaged items for sale. “It is just a fluid thing,” said committee chairman Diane Albrecht.

_ Approved using federal COVID-19 grant money to replace 16 faucets in county buildings with automatic ones to reduce disease transmission at a cost of about $12,000. In addition, they approved using grant money to install drinking foundations with cup fillers at a cost of $13,000. Svedja said while they are utilizing grant money to do this, it is also beneficial to the county since the newest water fountain in a county building was installed 20 years ago.

_ Received word on the retirement of Rick Sperl with the plan to move forward with replacing him. Svedja said he wished to look at restructuring how the department is run and will bring a plan to the committee in December.