The city of Hudson, Wis. recently approved plans to expand a busy boat launch on the south end of Lakefront Park, as well as funds for the fire department to purchase a boat capable of responding to fires on the water.
Funding for the $1.5 million boat launch project is expected to come from the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Another $30,000 for paddlecraft access will be bonded, as will the new $150,000 boat.
The expanded boat landing will have 14 more parking spots, and be able to stay open at higher water levels than before. It will also have more room for lining up, tying down, and removing invasive species, and improve traffic flow.
The launch currently closes when the river reaches the level of 681′ above sea level. The modifications in the design will let it stay open up to the 683.4′ level.
Hudson officials have been saying the city needs a firefighting boat for several years. In 2018, a boat fire on the river in front of the city highlighted the absence. Mayor Rich O’Connor witnessed the fire and told KARE 11 about it.
Hudson firefighters arrived within minutes, but all they could do was sit and wait.
“We do not have our own pumper boat that can actually pump water on to put out a fire here in Hudson,” O’Connor says.
The city typically relies on Stillwater firefighters to help them out in situations like this, but O’Connor says it took them nearly 40 minutes to get there.
“Through no fault of their own. Its quite a ways to get down the river here,” O’Connor explains. “We really should have a pumper boat of our own.”
Both the boat launch and firefighting boat have essentially received tentative approval at this point. But the city council will still need to review designs and bids for the boat launch, and give final go-ahead for purchasing the watercraft. No timeline has been decided.