Smoking banned at Duck Creek Quarry Park
Parking restrictions also approved to some nearby streets
By Kevin Boneske
HOWARD – A popular park to visit in the village for those interested in swimming, fishing, scuba diving and boating will no longer allow smoking.
The Howard village board unanimously approved an ordinance Monday, Aug. 27, to prohibit smoking at the Duck Creek Quarry Park.
Board members requested an ordinance be written to not allow smoking there in response to the problem with cigarette butts littering the beaches and other areas.
“When I was there and I walked around the whole beach, it was like walking in an ash tray,” said Trustee Cathy Hughes. “I’m sorry to say that… Why should (small children) walk through cigarette butts? It’s an unhealthy thing and everything else, but I’m glad we’re doing this for the health and safety of our visitors and our residents.”
In response to concerns raised by Trustee Craig McAllister, board members agreed to have receptacles for cigarette butts near where people enter the park.
“Otherwise (cigarette butts are) still going to be on the ground somewhere,” McAllister said. “They’re either going to be on the street, because people are going to smoke until they get out to the entrance.”
Village President Burt McIntyre said having receptacles for people to discard cigarette butts serves two purposes.
“Number one, it notifies people that they should be getting rid of their cigarettes,” McIntyre said. Secondly, it’s just kind of a good will thing on our part to help smokers do what they need to be doing. I’m not concerned about the butts. I’m concerned about the live cigarettes. We’ve had it happen where somebody’s walking along the beaches and there’s a cigarette still lit because it was discarded.”
The ordinance, which prohibits smoking at all times at Duck Creek Quarry Park, states no one will be allowed to “engage in smoking or smoke tobacco of any type or utilize electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes.”
The smoking ban takes effect upon the ordinance being published in The Press.
Board members also approved an ordinance related to parking restrictions near the Duck Creek Quarry Park.
Parking will be prohibited on both sides of Maywood Lane, from Vela Avenue to Glendale Avenue, from noon to 5 p.m., May 15-Sept. 15, except with a permit.
In addition, parking will be prohibited at all times on the following streets:
• On the east side of Lakeview Drive, beginning at Glendale Avenue and continuing north 1,300 feet.
• On the west side of Lakeview Drive, beginning at Glendale Avenue and continuing north 250 feet.
• On the east side of Lakeview Drive, beginning 850 feet north of Glendale Avenue and continuing north 450 feet.
• On both sides of Riverview Drive north of Velp Avenue.
• On the north and south sides of Glendale Avenue between Riverview Drive and Velp Avenue, except in the Duck Creek Quarry parking stalls.
Though board members have inquired about using the site of the nearby former pickle factory as a parking area for those who use the Duck Creek Quarry, Director of Public Works Geoff Farr said the cost to demolish the building would be in the neighborhood of $100,000 to $200,000, not including any remediation that may have to be done to the property related to groundwater, soils, the possible existence of asbestos, lead paint abatement, etc.
Even if that site would eventually be used for parking, Farr said that wouldn’t change the recommendations for street parking restrictions “because people would be still having concerns about people crossing Lakeview Drive or parking up by the emergency boat launch or the county parking lot at the Mountain Bay trail.”
“I think all of the other restrictions that are in here really still stand on their own, whether the parking be at the pickle factory or soccer field,” he said.
Speed limit change tabled
On another proposed ordinance related to part of a street in the area of Duck Creek County Park, board members were divided over whether to approve lowering the speed limit from 25 to 15 mph on Glendale Avenue from Maywood Avenue to Lakeview Lane.
Trustee Ray Suennen requested that the speed limit be reduced there because of safety concerns related to the amount of traffic on the road during busy days.
“One of the things related to this is there are, I believe, 65 parking spots there,” Suennen said. “There’s a guardrail on the other side, so there’s no shoulder there. We have an increase in people who keep going back and forth looking for a close parking spot, plus the pedestrian traffic that’s there… A lot of the traffic has gone down to 15 mph, which is a good common sense thing. Unfortunately, there are still those that don’t use common sense… Posting it down to 15 (mph) is an appropriate thing to do at this point in time.”
However, Farr noted a lower speed limit would be in place year-round and could affect local residential users and the Brown County Highway Department.
“If the village board changes the speed in the area, you may consider at some point in the future changing the entrances to the roadway so that users really get the kind of more of the park feel,” he said. “The only area that we have 15 mph speed limits in the village is at school crossings… and also within parks.”
Farr said the way the roadway is currently laid out “may be a little at odds year-round” with having a 15 mph speed limit.
Of the 85 letters sent out to nearby residents related to the parking and speed limit restrictions proposed near Duck Creek Quarry Park, Farr said “there was a mix bag of responses” of the few who replied about lowering the speed limit.
Trustee Chris Nielsen said he didn’t see the need for lowering the speed limit when the area was busy only six months out of the year and also questioned how a 15 mph speed limit would be enforced there.
“I’m torn on this one,” Nielsen said. “I don’t know which way to go. I’m leaning to the no side…”
McAllister said a 25 mph speed limit would probably be “slow enough” for that section of roadway.
“With some responsibility, the park users and the pedestrians, I think both can coincide the way it is without limiting the residential traffic or the county traffic that needs to use that road, also,” he said.
Public Safety Chief Don Phillips said he wasn’t aware of there being complaints about motorists speeding past the quarry or any accidents related to parking there.
“In my opinion, to limit (the speed to 15 mph for) the residents and users of the road for the entire year for the three or four months the quarry is busy, I don’t think it’s a good tradeoff,” Phillips said.
Though there hasn’t yet been a bad accident reported along the stretch of roadway, McIntyre said he “would hate to wait until somebody gets killed and then make a decision” on whether to lower the speed limit.
After Hughes suggested further review of the proposed speed limit reduction for two more weeks, Board members agreed to table action on the measure until their Sept. 10 meeting.