City of Port Washington, Wisconsin City of Port Washington, Wisconsin City of Port Washington, Wisconsin City of Port Washington, Wisconsin City of Port Washington, Wisconsin City of Port Washington, Wisconsin City of Port Washington, Wisconsin City of Port Washington, Wisconsin City of Port Washington, Wisconsin City of Port Washington, Wisconsin City of Port Washington, Wisconsin

City of Port Washington Breakwater News

May 16, 2017 — Click here to view Mayor Mlada's presentation from the May 16th, 2017 Common Council meeting regarding the North Breakwater Lighthouse.

May 5, 2017 — At our Common Council meeting on Tuesday evening, Mayor Mlada shared with all members of the public in attendance this "Breakwater Fact Sheet" for their reference and use as a guide in the ongoing discussion about the necessary investment to repair the breakwaters protecting our harbor, marina, lakefront, and public access to Lake Michigan. This is a relatively concise summary of a very complex topic, but Mayor Mlada believes that in preparing and sharing it with our City and County residents we can advance a better understanding of the many important considerations involved.

As the Mayor highlighted in his 45-minute presentation, there are simple ways for YOU to make a difference for "Our Home Port." Please use this opportunity to contact your Ozaukee County Board Supervisor, our elected State representatives, and our elected Federal legislators -- and let them know you (we!) need their support of our community efforts to repair this vital infrastructure! Your voice matters!

Once more, thank you for engaging on these topics, part of the Mayor's "Challenges and Opportunities" series that will be a focus at every Council meeting until the end of 2017. We are grateful for your continued support of and advocacy for our City leadership efforts!

Download the Breakwater Fact Sheet.

February 17, 2017 — Let the work begin! After two years of planning work and securing of necessary funds, our City of Port Washington begins work on Monday to completely transform the gateway entrance to the North breakwater! The crane is poised and ready for action!

This is a very exciting day for all City and County residents and all visitors to "Our Home Port!" It is all illustration of what we have been able to accomplish together over the past five years in repairing and stabilizing the essential infrastructure that protects our harbor, our marina, and our lakefront.

The work beginning Monday, 02/20/17 -- highlighted in the "blue dash outline" of the concept plan below -- will focus on complete reconstruction of the gateway walkway (the "hardscape"). Gone will be the 3 foot wide iron grate catwalk, and in its place will be an 8 foot wide concrete walkway. Beyond functional access for all people -- including those with physical disabilities -- we will create functional usage space for all members of our community with a viewing platform and a fishing area as park of a large "gathering area." Port Deco Divers, an outstanding City business partner, has also expressed interest in creating a safe "dive area" in the shallow, protected waters off of this section of the gateway walkway. On so many levels, this work represents yet another city investment in enhancing our 6 miles(!) of publicly accessible lakefront here in PW, from mile rock on North Beach throughout and along our harbor and marina and all the way over to South Beach!

Special thanks to Alderman Dan Becker, our Council President, and Alderman Bill Driscoll, Representative for this area of our City lakefront District, for their commitment to this great Project. From the outset of our Breakwater repair and stabilization efforts several years ago, these two gentlemen have joined Mayor Mlada, City Administrator Grams, and other key City staff in biweekly conference calls with the Army Corps of Engineers; outreach efforts to County, State and Federal officials; funding conversations with funding agencies and organizations; and concept development of the solutions we are now enacting. With their help, our City has been able to procure nearly $4 million for all of the vital repair work we are leading forward -- work that will sustain the breakwater infrastructure for another 50-100 years! Generations of City and County residents will enjoy safe access to our historic lighthouse, recreational fishing, boating, sightseeing, and more because of the work we are doing today. Our City can continue forward with a very successful Marina, public access to and along Lake Michigan, and essential lakefront development -- benefiting every single City resident! Thank you, Alderman Becker and Alderman Driscoll, for your leadership!

This is a moment of celebration for our great City of PW! Enjoy watching the progress continue with our breakwater gateway improvements -- and then get ready to enjoy them personally when the work is completed in early June! Onward to an extraordinary 2017!

Crane At Breakwater - City of Port Washington, WI
Click Photo to Enlarge

Breakwater Project Plans - City of Port Washington, WI
Click Photo to Enlarge

June 30, 2016 — Breakwater Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Today! Please join us this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at the north breakwater for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion by the Army Corp. of Engineers of the steel-celled sections of the breakwall. Their commitment of time and talent is astounding -- the work was completed on-time and within budget! The north breakwater is now open to the public (for at least the next month or two before gateway work commences). As we all know, this repair work was vital -- because the north and south breakwaters are vital. We need those critical infrastructure elements to be strong and sustainable to protect our harbor, our marina, our charter fishing, our lakefront investments (public and private) and our business district. The breakwaters ensure public access to lake recreation and safe navigation between ports via Ozaukee County's only harbor. They are an important element of our tourism efforts and thus directly impact our local economy. Hence, the successful completion of this phase of work is something we can all celebrate.

April 14, 2016 — Residents and visitors are reminded that the City breakwater is closed to all pedestrian traffic while it is being repaired and improved. The breakwater will be closed from April 14, 2016 - July 3, 2016 AND August 1, 2016 - October 31, 2016 while these repairs are being made. Thank you for your patience while we complete this important work.

City of Port Washington breakwater repair signage

February 4, 2016 — Mayor Mlada drafted a letter seeking additional federal funding for vital repair work to the federal breakwaters protecting our harbor, marina, and lakefront. The letter has been sent to the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as to Senator Johnson, Senator Baldwin, and Congressman Grothman. You may read the letter here.

WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please support our city leadership's efforts by calling, e-mailing, or writing our elected officials out in Washington D.C. (see the "Speak Out!" section in the column to the right). YOUR voice matters! Please speak out on behalf of our city TODAY! Let our federally elected representatives know we need their support to advance this necessary federal funding for urgent repair of the breakwaters!


February 3, 2015 — There will be a public information meeting on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 6:15 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, 100 W. Grand Avenue. Representatives from the engineering firms Foth and Smithgroup will hold a public information meeting for the Breakwater Gateway Project. The engineers will be looking for citizen input on a design for a park area at the entrance to the Breakwater. Some concept plans have been developed and will be discussed at the public information meeting. The City is looking for input on these possible designs and other ideas that may be brought forward that will enhance the project. The public information meeting will end at 7:30 p.m. Click here for a printable public notice.


August 11, 2014 — The City of Port Washington was awarded a $500,000 Recreational Boating Fund Grant for breakwater repair work! Click here to read the latest press release from Mayor Tom Mlada.

City of Port Washington Breakwater Press Release and Media Interviews
Photos from left to right:
Photo #1: WISN Channel 12's Mike Anderson and Mayor Tom Mlada
Photo #2: WISN Channel 12's Thema Ponton, Congressman Tom Petri and Mayor Tom Mlada
Photo #3: WISN Channel 12's Thema Ponton, Congressman Tom Petri and Alderman Bill Driscoll

Help Save The Breakwater

Our City of Port Washington breakwaters are part of the very fabric of our great city – without them, our city landscape and identity would not be the same. The breakwaters help form and protect the only marina and harbor in Ozaukee County. The closest harbors are Sheboygan (25+ miles north) and Milwaukee (25+ miles south). Located along Lake Michigan, Port Washington relies heavily on its greatest geographical asset, and our harbor and marina are critical elements. Our breakwaters serve us in the following ways:

  • Protect one of Southeastern Wisconsin’s most critical electrical utilities, owned by WE Energies;
  • Fuel tourism spending in our downtown and economic growth throughout our city;
  • Provide necessary safeguarding of the critical infrastructure and public and private investment and development along the lakefront (estimated at up to $70 million);
  • Offer safe passage for boats and protection for the vital navigation channel;
  • Ensure the continued success of the city’s thriving charter fishing industry;
  • Provide for the continued presence of recreational boating.

But while these breakwaters are indeed “assets,” they are actually assets belonging to the federal government, or more specifically, the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps is responsible for all aspects of maintenance of the breakwaters – and ours have now fallen into a severe state of disrepair.

Accordingly, about nine months ago we began the process of actively seeking assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers for a long-term solution for our breakwaters, as the rate of deterioration has progressed significantly over the course of the past several years. While in the past seven to 10 years its condition has begun to have a negative economic impact, most specifically because of its impact on tourism and fishing, the progression of its deterioration has now reached a crisis level and presents a public health and safety concern. The need for a longer-term fix, and not simply a shorter-term repair, is urgent.

In recognition of this, we have taken the following steps:

  • Reached out to Army Corps of Engineers personnel based in the Midwest and, more specifically, the Kewaunee field office, to highlight the imminent danger that exists and the urgent need for action to mitigate that danger;
  • Met with Congressman Tom Petri, honorable representative for Wisconsin's 6th District and Ranking Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (and Chairman of the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee), to discuss the need for immediate federal assistance;
  • Established an energized, vocal, and credible coalition of stakeholders who are actively partnering with us and supporting our efforts;
  • Formed a Breakwater Advisory Committee comprised of residents of the City of Port Washington and Ozaukee County who have relevant background experience to lead forward exploratory, advocacy, and implementation efforts for a long-term solution of the structural integrity and surface condition of our breakwater asset;
  • Opened dialogue with County and State officials and other federally representatives to inform and alert them of the urgent need for solution and make the case for support of that solution;
  • Traveled to Washington D.C. in November 2013 to meet with Army Corps of Engineers officials and others and outline our grave concerns and advocate for immediate funding of an effective, sustainable fix;
  • Retained the services of Foth Infrastructure & Environment and SmithGroup JJR to assist us with our fund planning and procurement efforts and our drive to bring “contributed dollars” to the table as part of a local cost-share solution.

As a City, we are actively engaged in leading this fight, and we will continue to mobilize stakeholders, advocate for action, and attempt to drive a solution. However, for this effort to be successful, it must be a community-wide effort.

Here is where we need your help. If you believe as we do that action is needed now, call or write our legislators and let them know that we may be a small town, but we have a big heart and are willing to work hard and fight to save our port. Please don’t think that “someone else” will write. “Someone else” never does. Too often, we sit back and complain that our government doesn’t listen, but the truth is that they can’t listen if we don’t speak!

Join us by taking action today – use the contact information below to call our elected Federal representatives and let them know we need their help. Our port is vital to our city, our community, and all of Ozaukee County. And while you are at it…encourage a friend that loves our lake to call or write, too!

202-225-2476     Representative Glenn Brothman
202-224-5323     Senator Ron Johnson
202-224-5653     Senator Tammy Baldwin

City of Port Washington Breakwater




City of Port Washington Speak Out

Would you like to voice your concerns about the Port Washington Breakwater with your Congressman or Senator?

Email: Click Here
Phone: 202.224.5653
Fax: 202.224.9787
Write: 717 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510

Email: Click Here
Phone: 202.224.5323
Fax: 202.228.6965
Write: 328 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

Email: Click Here
Phone: 202.225.2476
Fax: 202.225.2356
Write: 501 Cannon H.O.B., Washington, DC 20515

City of Port Washington Press Releases

August 11, 2014
July 10, 2014
November 1, 2013
November 11, 2013
November 19, 2013
March 5, 2014

City of Port Washington Video

City of Port Washington Facebook page City of Port Washington Home Page WISN Channel 12's Mike Anderson and Mayor Tom Mlada WISN Channel 12's Thema Ponton, Congressman Tom Petri and Mayor Tom Mlada WISN Channel 12's Thema Ponton, Congressman Tom Petri and Alderman Bill Driscoll