Spring 2016 installation planned in Hortonville
By Scott Bellile
Starting next year, local paddlers will be able to launch kayaks on Black Otter Lake.
The Village of Hortonville, Black Otter Lake District and Outagamie County all contributed money to purchase an approximately $20,600 kayak launch for Black Otter Park. The launch will be installed in spring 2016.
At its Oct. 15 meeting, the Hortonville Village Board approved a motion 6-0 to spend $7,500 of the $10,000 available in its 2015 strategic planning fund on the kayak launch. Trustee Tori Mann was absent.
The Black Otter Lake District, an organization of residents who promote fishing and recreation on Black Otter Lake, initiated the project and covered half of the cost. The Outagamie County Greenway Pilot Fund grant contributed $4,125.
The kayak launch will be usable for people with limited mobility. A parking lot with two handicapped parking stalls will connect to an accessible sidewalk leading to the launch. The launch will be wider for wheelchair accommodations and include railings.
“This will be a beautiful facility when it’s all done,” Hortonville Public Works Director Carl McCrary said.
At the Oct. 15 village board meeting, village workers and local officials debated how much money to contribute and what type of launch to recommend the Black Otter Lake District buy.
A cause for the debate was a cheaper $17,660 kayak launch option existed, but McCrary and trustee Al Habeck were among those who said it would look ugly in Black Otter Park.
Trustee Kelly Schleif said although strategic planning could afford the pricier $20,600 launch, it would be wise to buy the $17,660 one and save the $3,000 difference.
“Who gives a [darn]? It’s a [darn] kayak launch,” trustee Kelly Schleif said. “Why does it have to be pretty? It’s functional.”
Habeck and trustee Peter Olk said the $20,600 option would last longer because it’s built from composite materials that would make it more durable, versus the $17,660 launch made of aluminum.
McCrary sought a yes or no decision on the purchase because another municipality had its eye on the same launch and the rate would be better if Hortonville acted right away.
The project has been three years in the making. It falls under the strategic planning initiative of improving the village’s parks and will attract outside visitors to Hortonville, McCrary said.