Marina Faces an Uncertain Future

A new development could change life along the waterfront

June 29, 2012

There may be change in store for Gangplank residents, from right, Laura Rear McLaughlin, John McLaughlin and Jason Kopp, with visitor Jennifer LaMarre.

In the first quarter of 2013, construction on expansive new development The Wharf is slated to change the face of the Southwest Waterfront.

Developer Hoffman-Madison Waterfront plans to rehabilitate the underdeveloped and underused stretch with a $2 billion mixed-use development. It will include residential, retail and office buildings, plus park, cultural and public pier spaces.

No community stands to gain or lose more than the Gangplank. It’s home to the only Southwest residents in the direct path of construction, which is scheduled to begin at the marina around 2016. It’s not just the slips and docks that will be revamped. Lighting in the marina and the communal bathroom and shower facilities will get a makeover.

“We’ve made a commitment to maintain existing slipholders in the Gangplank,” says Shawn Seaman, project director for Hoffman-Madison Waterfront. The Gangplank residents and the developer are still working out the details.

“I hope we’ll be able to keep the same diversity of boats and people that are in the marina right now,” says Jason Kopp, president of the Gangplank Slipholders Association, pointing out not only the range of residents but also vessels, from barges to motorboats, that call the marina home. Current residents are concerned about possible changes in the price of renting a slip and about how new residents will be allowed to enter the community.

A strong sense of community will hold residents together during what will at the very least be a rocky few years of construction.

“There’s a real core of real neighborhood stuff here, and I don’t want to lose that,” Laneyse Hooks says. “At the same time, I want some services. I want that development to be successful.”

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