Sturgeon Bay delays Little Lake restoration plans until it prioritizes the lake's needs

·3 min read
Plans to restore Bradley Lake, best known as Little Lake, in Sturgeon Bay's Sunset Park are on hold because contractors bidding on the project said they couldn't do much with the $400,000 the city budgeted for the work.
Plans to restore Bradley Lake, best known as Little Lake, in Sturgeon Bay's Sunset Park are on hold because contractors bidding on the project said they couldn't do much with the $400,000 the city budgeted for the work.

STURGEON BAY - Plans to continue improvements to Bradley Lake, most commonly called Little Lake, in the city's Sunset Park are on hold until a new committee decides exactly what those improvements should be.

The Sturgeon Bay City Council made that decision in its June 21 meeting after bids to work on the lake came in at more than double what the city had budgeted for it.

The 20-acre lake originally was called Crystal Lake because of its clear water and was home to fish and waterfowl, but it had fallen into disuse in recent years because of sludge, contamination and choking algae growth from surface water runoff and storm sewers that were diverted into the lake in the 1970s. Phase 1 of a restoration effort led by the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club and other concerned citizens was completed in 2017.

The city included $400,000 in its 2022 budget for more work on the lake and sent out a request for proposals. But the RFP didn't specify what or how much work the city wanted to take place. Mayor David Ward told the Door County Advocate the city basically was asking contractors who bid on the RFP to do whatever they could for the $400,000.

Two contractors returned bids on the RFP, but one was for $1.1 million and the other for $972,000, with both indicating they were looking at not just a small piece of restoration but the entire lake. Ward said the city negotiated with one contractor who said they could restore a small part of the lake's shoreline, but the difference wouldn't be very noticeable.

Because of that, the council decided Tuesday to reject both bids, roll over the $400,000 into next year's budget and add more dollars to it so the project would be bigger, and form a committee to consider all the restoration options and prioritize them before RFPs are issued again. Ward noted several studies have taken place on work that could be done on the lake and have included suggestions ranging from kayak launches to an aeration system to introduce more oxygen into the water and help slow or prevent algae growth.

"What the council wants to do is form an ad hoc committee ... put all these reports on the table and decide what's the priority, what do we really want done," he said.

Ward said revitalizing the lake has been a priority for the city in recent years. He noted the city put $1 million into its 2021 budget to work on it, but those funds had to be diverted to restoring shorelines damaged by weather and high water levels

"We're doing what we can to do a project that will really enhance Sunset Park and the lake," Ward said, "which I think is really a jewel, but we haven't done much."

Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or cclough@doorcountyadvocate.com.

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This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Little Lake restoration plans in Sturgeon Bay's Sunset Park on hold