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Rules proposed for docks

Litter accumulated at the Bernneger River Walk near Loss Park Dock on the south side of the Wolf River in New London. John Faucher Photo

New London police respond to frequent complaints

By Robert Cloud

Rowdy behavior at city docks on the Wolf River is drawing the attention of New London police.

Police Chief Jeffrey Schlueter said officers are responding to complaints about four to seven times a week.

Officers are being “called down to the docks for loitering, littering, disorderly conduct, drugs, people yelling at boaters, swearing at boaters,” Schlueter said.

He said large groups of juveniles and young adults have sometimes forced law enforcement to close the docks for the night.

“There have been complaints about lewd behavior, excessive loitering and littering,” according to a July 6 memo from Parks and Rec Director Ginger Sowles. “During the month of June, I have had to call the parks crews to either St. John’s or to the docks by State Farm for an excessive amount of litter and vandalism. The garbage cans have their tops ripped off, the handicap picnic table has obscene language carved and written on it and one of the benches was ripped off.”

Schlueter told the New London Press Star that boaters have attempted to disembark in order to go downtown only to be discouraged by groups of people hanging out at the docks.

He said the city council needs to decide what the purpose of the docks should be.

“Should they allow sunbathing on the docks or hanging out all day?” he asked.

Dock ordinances in other communities

Sowles forwarded several examples of dock-related ordinances from other communities with her memo.

In Hudson, the ordinance reads, “No loitering or swimming is permitted on or from these piers or docks. No person shall approach or leave a pier or dock in a negligent or reckless manner.”

According to Rice Lake’s town ordinance, all docks are exclusively to be used for loading and unloading boats and watercraft.

“Activities that are prohibited include swimming off or near the docks and boat ramps, or interfering with the proper use of lake access,” the town ordinance says.

An Oshkosh ordinance prohibits fishing from the docks.

In De Pere, the ordinance prohibits “swimming or other recreational activities not directly associated with the launch of a watercraft.”

Discussion of a local dock ordinance was on the agenda for the July 11 New London’s Park and Recreation Committee meeting.

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