A Bigger City Beach?

By Beacon Staff

Whitefish Lake waterfront property isn’t cheap. In fact, adjacent to City Beach, it’s running about $36,000 per foot.

The City of Whitefish has its eye on an undeveloped wooded .44-acre lot next to the beach. The negotiated price tag adds up to $3.1 million—a sum the City Council is throwing out to the public for a vote this fall.

The property would add 99.7 waterfront feet to the beach, which currently lines its 810 beachfront feet with sand, a swimming corral, grassy picnic areas, and a boat dock. In mid summer, the popular park packs wall to wall while vehicles line up to launch boats. Beach manager Andy Hergesheimer reported, “Hot days draw 200 to 300 people here at a time.”

While the Whitefish Parks and Recreation Department has no specific plans yet for the property use, it has concerns it would like to address. “We simply don’t have enough beach,” said Director Dan Keyes, “but we’d like to make it safer for kids and more efficient for boaters.” Whitefish Lake Institute has recommended the boat ramp be relocated further away from the swimming area. Keyes mentioned one woman already called requesting a dog park for the possible additional space. However, no specific plans will be developed until the Parks and Recreation Department canvases folks.

Because the buy-sell agreement allows the City only 100 days to close, a special mail-in ballot will be sent to voters this fall to approve a 20-year bond to purchase the land. As the election is city-wide, some 4,000-plus voters will have their say; City Beach users who live outside the city limits cannot vote. “It’s a lot of money,” noted Keyes, “but it’ll be worth it in the end.”

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