McGregor to explore ways to make riverfront cleaner, safer
By Audrey Posten
Members of the McGregor Dock Commission raised some concerns regarding the safety and disrepair of the city’s riverfront at the Aug. 21 city council meeting.
Dock Commission President Lyn Smith and member Lyle Troester spoke on behalf of the commission and presented the council with a proposal that would look at giving the city, and thus the dock commission, more authority to regulate the riverfront.
The commission said it had received a number of complaints from residents, boat owners and visitors regarding the areas leased by McGregor Marina. Some of the complainants called into question the safety of the docks, mentioning that the docks were unstable and not cleaned or repaired. People also noted barrels and debris floating between docks, in slips and along the shore.
“We care about the appearance,” Troester said, “but the big one is safety. Our fear is nothing will be done until someone dies.”
Smith said the commission has tried to be respectful of personal matters, as well as issues with storms and high water, and has put off doing an inspection. However, the issue has reached a tipping point.
“It’s just getting the debris pulled out,” Smith said. “There was a storm, but you do it. If you don’t want to do it for your business, realize it affects so much of the rest of the town’s business.”
The council also expressed sympathy over the situation, but said, at this point in the summer, action needs to be taken. The only problem with that, the dock commission said, is that it has no teeth to enforce lease conditions.
“It’s embarrassing when people come to us and say, ‘You’re the dock commission, so do something,’” Troester said. “But we’re powerless.”
As a result, City Attorney Michael Schuster will research the city’s and dock commission’s authority to issue citations for negligence in maintaining the marina docks.
Smith and Troester said people have also voiced concerns about the lack of public dock slips. Boats often wait for slips and, if none are available, decide not to stop in McGregor, costing the town and its businesses valuable foot traffic.
In order to create more public dockage, the commission proposed relieving McGregor Marina of the portion of its lease that occupies the dock unused this year. This would eliminate the dock north of the houseboat/cruiser dock and move the houseboat/cruiser dock north.
The city would then expand the public dock. It would also work toward creating a handicap accessible ramp, which would be especially helpful for senior citizens who would like to take a boat ride.
McGregor street projects
Street supervisor Brian Hamann also updated the council on this year’s remaining street projects. Hamann said Buell Street will be straightened, Ash Street will be paved and $2,000 in crack sealing will be done. Storm damage repairs will also be completed.
“That’s what we’ll be able to get done this year,” Hamann said. “It doesn’t seem like much, but this summer has been bad.”
McGregor City Administrator Lynette Sander met with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Aug. 20. The city will have 60 days to identify the repair projects associated with this summer’s two federally-declared disasters.