Bay Beach Waterfront

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Bay Beach Waterfront was one of Green Bay's most popular attractions. Its home was at the Bay Beach Amusement Park. It included a swimming area, sandy beach, and beautiful dock onto the water.

Bay Beach train riding past the Bay of Green Bay

What was the Bay Beach waterfront?

The Bay Beach Amusement Park is currently on the Bay of Green Bay. Up until the 1930's there was an opportunity to utilize the beach and water. The beach was a great way to bring in tourists and let the citizens of Green Bay take a relaxing day at the beach along with enjoying some rides. The beach created a great tourist spot for Green Bay, as well as a nice getaway for citizens of Green Bay without having to drive towards Door County, also a popular destination spot for a beach-like getaway.

Where did it go?

According to Val Klump, an aquatic scientist, Green Bay was one of the first areas part of the Great Lakes remedial action plan. This was part of a committee's efforts in the 1980's to clean up our Great Lakes water. The beach was shut down in the 1940's due to contamination in the water and a health risk if you swam in it. [1] It has taken quite a few decades for Green Bay to acquire the DNR permit which means the water quality met the guidelines. [2]

What was the problem?

The problem that shut down the Bay Beach waterfront almost 80 years ago was the water pollution the Bay suffered. The water contains blue green algae blooms that are common for the Fox River and the Bay according to Noordyk, a water quality outreach specialist. Due to the shallow water due to the warm weather we experience in the summer, it creates a perfect environment for green algae blooms to form. Another issue we have had in the past was our PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) levels due to our industrial work near the water. According to Noordyk, our contact with the PCBs through swimming isn't much of a concern. What Noordyk is worried about is the waterfowl and fish consumption. We have also put in effort to dredge up the pollutants from the Bay and Fox River. [3]

What the future holds

As of March 30th, 2018 Mayor Jim Schmitt announced the plans to put into place a new usable beach, boardwalk, fishing pier, and beach house. The city approved $5 million to get the job done. They hope to have all of these things in place by summer of 2019. The average cost of this project is actually projected to be $7 million. However, the city is confident with the help from grants and the amusement parks contributions from sales, they will be able to achieve the renovation and pay off the debt without tax payers help. [4]

Bay Beach's future plans

Schmitt adds that he believes the beach and amusement park could increase their annual income by 3-5%. Even though the beach will contribute to the parks income, Mayor Jim Schmitt refuses to make the citizens of Green Bay pay extra to swim. He is very adamant about keeping a free beach. [5]

Their hope is to add a beautiful 450 foot pier into the bay, concession stand, changing area, and a larger parking lot. This is in addition to a 2.9 acre sand beach.


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