PORT WASHINGTON — A Port Washington yacht designer has launched an ambitious effort to beautify the town's iconic breakwater without any taxpayer money.
Bill Prince said the 17 pieces of concrete along the breakwater, which now are a naturally dreary gray, could be painted in different shades of blue to highlight the color of Lake Michigan water from the harbor's natural light at various times of the day.
He thought up the idea after traveling in Europe.
"You see some iconic images of coastline in Greece, or in Italy, and I just thought, 'It would be neat to take these 17 walls and beautify them like that,' " Prince said. "We could beautify them in a way that would become a signature of the Port Washington waterfront."
Prince first drew up a rendering of the idea and posted it to his Facebook page.
"Within 24 hours, we raised almost $18,000," Prince said.
He said that money, all private donations, would not only cover the cost of painting the concrete but also several cycles of maintenance, cleaning and repainting.
"It'll be about $1,000 per panel," Prince said.
"You see some iconic images of coastline in Greece, or in Italy, and I just thought, 'It would be neat to take these 17 walls and beautify them like that.' " — Bill Prince, Port Washington yacht designer
The Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the breakwater, has signed off on the plan to paint it.
Prince said all that's left is to once again present the plan to the Harbor Commission, which he added has been favorable toward the idea.
"If they vote to do it, then in the spring we'll start painting," Prince said.
The goal would be to have the project completed by June 1.
"It's an idea whose time, I think, has come, and it'll be a wonderful addition to the waterfront," Prince said.