By Ben Rodgers
HOWARD – The village of Howard hopes to put the finishing touches on the Duck Creek Quarry by the Fourth of July.
Village staff have been at work since last fall, when time allowed, to work on the excavation of fill material to create two swimming areas with water access.
The area currently open on the southeast side has a ledge followed by a steep drop off, and is for experienced swimmers, said Paul Evert, village administrator.
On the southwest side, the village is using the former truck path into the quarry to create a swim area for families. That area will have buoys and be roped off.
This is the portion Evert hopes to have completed by the Fourth of July.
“To us it’s a quality of life issue,” Evert said. “It gives people more recreational opportunities. Unfortunately there isn’t really a clean place to swim in Green Bay outside of public pools. We don’t have a public pool, and this thing is 18 acres, so we kind of have a public lake in the middle of the village.”
The quarry is located on the edge of Glendale Avenue and Lakeview Drive.
The village has owned the quarry for a number of years, Evert said. It leased the quarry to a company that removed material from it, but that stopped about a decade ago. Since then it has filled with water.
Evert visited the Red Granite quarry, which is more unregulated, to find out about rules the village could use at the Duck Creek Quarry.
“I’m not saying we’re getting everything right. I’m not saying it’s perfectly safe, but we’re looking at why this is such a problem at Red Granite,” Evert said.
The area is a swim at your own risk, there are no lifeguards, no alcohol or glass is allowed in. There is no access on the west or north ends. There is no climbing or jumping from ledges or cliffs, and no motorized boats are allowed. Fishing is catch and release only, and the quarry is open from just before sunup to just after sundown.
Aside from the second beach the village hopes to finish, the village board may approve more upgrades to the quarry.
“We had always thought we’d like to put a in boardwalk and make it a fishing area, but as we excavated out we found out there’s a wonderful in-place ledge that the quarry excavated out,” Evert said. “It’s really smooth, so we won’t have to do a lot of work there if the board decides we want to create that area.”
Evert said he would also like to have someone offer kayak lessons in the future at the quarry.
It may even be open in the winter for ice fishing or other activities.
“It just gives people a recreational opportunity and they don’t have to drive really far to get there,” he said.