Two Port Milwaukee projects awarded $4.5 million in harbor grants

Trucks line up to deliver agricultural products to the privately-operated Cofco International grain elevator in the Milwaukee harbor.
Trucks line up to deliver agricultural products to the privately-operated Cofco International grain elevator in the Milwaukee harbor.

Last updated on March 29th, 2022 at 02:46 pm

Two different projects taking place in Port Milwaukee have garnered funding from the state’s Harbor Assistance Program.

The first project involves the reparation and reconstruction of a section of dock wall along the Jones Island Inner Mooring Basin. Gov. Tony Evers approved $1,175,000 million for that project.

Another $3,381,000 was awarded to DeLong Co. Inc. to assist with the final stages of construction of their $36 million agricultural maritime export facility.

Adam Tindall-Schlicht, Port Milwaukee director, said the dock wall involved in the first project is currently in operation, but repairs to it are listed as a priority within Port Milwaukee’s Capital Asset Renewal Plan (CARP). The plan provides a 50-year outlook on the needed re-investment to infrastructure and capital equipment at the port.

“These improvements will allow us to proactively address any of those troublesome spots that our marina engineers identify as needing immediate repair,” Tindall-Schlicht said.

The Inner Mooring Basin is the entire stretch of the western segment of Jones Island, where Port Milwaukee operates. It is the primary commercial stretch where multiple ships operate.

Adam Tindall-Schlicht

Tindall-Schlicht said in 2020, Port Milwaukee hosted 349 vessels — 160 of them were U.S. or Canadian lake vessels, 30 were international vessels and 159 were barge combinations. Most of these vessels docked within the Inner Mooring Basin.

“What the Capital Asset Renewal Plan found at Port Milwaukee is that the port needs to be reinvesting on average at least $4 million in new capital infrastructure related enhancements to our facility for the next 50 years in order to extend our commercial operations,” Tindall-Schlicht said. “The Harbor Assistance program is unique in, I would argue the entirety of the United States, in that Wisconsin has a state grant program that allows us to tackle infrastructure and capital improvement projects.”

Once the Milwaukee Common Council and acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson formally accept the grant funding from the state, construction on the Inner Mooring Basin project is expected to start in just a few weeks.

“Milwaukee is an economic catalyst for the State of Wisconsin, and this funding will enhance the Port’s efforts to connect Wisconsin agriculture with world markets,” said Johnson in a statement. “Thank you to Governor Tony Evers for supporting Port Milwaukee and our city’s maritime economy.”   

As for the DeLong Co. Inc. project, which is in the final stage of construction, Tindall-Schlicht said everything is on budget and on track to open in April 2023.

Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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