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Possible safety changes coming to Kenosha's lakefront after drownings

Posted at 5:16 PM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 21:57:36-04

The community is putting pressure on Kenosha leaders to make safety changes at the lakefront.  This comes after four drownings in the area this summer.  

Jerry Costabile with Kenosha Sport Fishing and Conservation Association has been pushing for better safety for years.  

"We purchased a ring and kiosk to donate to the city to put on the North Pier eight years ago," said Costabile.

The Army Corp of Engineers owns the pier.  The corp and the city are now working on a lease agreement so they can put three life rings on the North Pier.  The city already has permission to add one ring to the South Pier and one to the mouth of the Pike River if the council approves the resolution Monday night. The fishing group will maintain their kiosk. 

"It's been a couple weeks, but we are right on the edge of getting what we've been looking for and what we've been trying to do," said Costabile. 

Alderman David Bogdala said this is a long time coming. 

"We are light years ahead of where we were a couple of weeks ago," said Bogdala.  

He said politics got in the way of what was needed, but changes are in the works now.

"This is where bureaucracy gets in the way of common sense," said Bogdala.  

Bogdala thinks punishment will deter vandals from messing with the kiosks.  

"I have an ordinance that would essentially criminalize that activity up to possibly a $1,000 fine for anybody who damages or vandalizes one of these life ring kiosks that we'll be putting up," said Bogdala.

Council will also vote on possible swimming restrictions.  

The Police Department said they are adding throw bags to every patrol car.  The Kenosha Yacht Club is helping raise money to buy life rings.  

Susan Foster's son drowned off the North Pier five years ago.

"I know if that ring would have been there for my son it would have helped him because they couldn't pull him in," said Foster.

A Kenosha Public Safety Meeting is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Monday.