Warner Beach — reimagining or redeveloping?

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By Marian Celesnik

Next year Dane County will invest in a water filtration system for Warner Beach. It will be a self-contained system similar to the one at Lake Mendota County Park in Middleton. If all goes as planned, the sand beach will have cleaner water and more use. It could become a destination for families to bring children to swim.

The Clean Lakes Alliance has announced a “Reimagining Warner Beach” contest with prizes for designs that could include landscaping and buildings. [Editor’s note: see related article on this page.] What does this mean for Warner Beach? Does it mean an improved beach house and basic services, such as lifeguards and open bathrooms? Or does it mean development that clutters or even commercializes the landscape?

The contest deadline is Nov. 10. Community input will take place January through March at a time when we will have to remember what summer at the beach was like. My thought is that we should pay attention to what we now have at the lakefront: a long shady stretch of cottonwood trees that provides a counterpoint to the busy boat landing and a beautiful open view of sky and water at the sand beach. Experience the lakefront at whatever time of day you can. Not everyone swims, but we all use the lakefront in other ways.

Warner Beach is valuable. It is our public access to the lake. It is also valuable real estate that could be developed in ways that would not benefit everyone. We need to pay attention to what we like and do not like about the lakefront so that as Northside neighbors we can ensure that the improvements reflect all our needs.