New handicap accessible pier opens at Bukolt Park
By Taylor J. Hale
STEVENS POINT – City leaders and avid anglers gathered June 3 at Bukolt Park in Stevens Point for the official opening of a new handicap accessible pier, located in the park on the Wisconsin River.
The cantilever dock was planned, constructed and installed by members of the Prime Water Anglers group (PAW) — a volunteer-based fishing organization with a focus on community improvement projects.
“Prime Water Anglers was a bunch of guys getting together back in 2000,” said PAW President Jeff Rautio. “A few of them came from the 12 Apostles Musky Club. They wanted something important for kids to do, and to do some habitat improvement.”
Mayor Mike Wiza was at the opening ceremony for the new dock. He has a personal connection to the group. “Not only am I mayor, but I have been involved with PWA since its inception,” Wiza said at the event. Wiza was a founding member of the organization and a former club president. He is still a member of the group.
“All over Portage County, we have been doing improvements to help with the accessibility of the river,” Wiza said. “Not just handicap accessibility, but for anyone who wants to enjoy the recreational opportunities.”
The new dock was made possible by three donors – Jack and Linda Firkus; the 12 Apostles Musky Club; and Chris, Rob, and Daryl Ebert. The groups collectively donated approximately $6,500 for the project, according to Rautio.
The cantilever pier is designed to stay in the river year-round. PAW member Jan Nelson spearheaded the design plans for the project. Nelson was also in attendance at the event.
Wiza and others see the new handicap accessible docks as a way to expand the recreational resources of the area for all residents.
“It’s going to allow people who need additional accessibility to enjoy the riverfront as much as everybody else,” he said.
To learn more about the Prime Water Anglers and their community projects visit: https://primewateranglers.com.