Duck Creek Quarry closing for swimming after Labor Day
By Kevin Boneske
HOWARD – Slightly more than a week remains for village residents and their guests to swim at Duck Creek Quarry Park.
The Howard village board voted unanimously Monday, Aug. 24, to close the park’s beach for the season Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day.
Village Administrator Paul Evert said the upcoming start of the 2020-21 school year, along with the weather typically cooling off after Labor Day, will result in quarry use dropping and make it difficult to justify continuing to staff the beach.
“We’re staffing this place with a private security group to make sure everybody has gone through the wristbanding process,” he said. “It just seems to us that after Labor Day, maybe we return to where we were in May and early June and just close it hard at the beach, so people can still access the dock and kayak… It’s our thought we just close the beach as of the day after Labor Day.”
Evert said the swimming area will be fenced off upon being closed, similar to before opening the quarry this summer.
The quarry, a popular summertime outdoor swimming area, was closed until June 18 over concern about the spread of COVID-19 from possible overcrowding with other nearby swimming areas being closed this summer.
After the board voted 5-4 in June to reopen the quarry, gates and additional signage were installed with only village residents and their guests allowed with wristbands obtained weekdays for free from village hall to use the beach daily between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
All beach users over the age of 5, including swimmers, floaters, sunbathers and picnickers, have been required to have a wristband to enter the quarry’s beach area.
Except for swimming, the remainder of park and trail remained open to all visitors and for all uses during normal park hours.
Fishing is allowed throughout the park. People with non-motorized boats, paddleboards, etc., have been asked to launch from the dock, and dog swimming also is designated in that area. Those activities are not allowed on or from the swimming beach.
Village officials have reported receiving positive feedback from Howard residents for limiting use of the quarry’s swimming area this summer when there have also been fewer problems.