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					                                                      MICHIGAN CITY PARKS AND RECREATION

Washington Park can boast of
having one of the most beautiful
beaches along the shores of any
of the Great Lakes. Indiana has
approximately 40 miles of Lake
Michigan shoreline much of
which is used for residential,
commercial and industrial uses,
but Washington Park and the
esplanade contains 5% of the
total Indiana shoreline and is a
pristine sandy beach preserved
exclusively for recreational use.
The      beautiful    singing-sand
beaches of Washington Park
stretch for nearly two miles along
the south shores of Lake
Michigan from the lighthouse cat-walk across the length of the park and beyond to and
including the esplanade. This important asset to Washington Park should be and will be
preserved. This Master Plan requires that no beach area will be lost. There will be
increased access to the beach for patrons of all ages and physical ability.

The esplanade is a 35 acre promenade of sandy beach and foredunes that stretch from
the Dunescape complex to the eastern boundary line abutting Long Beach. Washington
Park and the esplanade comprise a total length of approximately 10,000 feet of beach
that is available for sunbathing, picnicking, partying, walking and swimming.

                                      The guarded swim area is 400 feet long and
                                      extends 200 feet into the cool waters of Lake
                                      Michigan and is protected by Red Cross
                                      certified life guards between Memorial Day and
                                      Labor Day.

                                      The beach is the most popular attraction in
                                      Washington Park and draws people from miles
                                      away to the picturesque southern shores of
                                      Lake Michigan.

                                      WASHINGTON PARK MASTER PLAN 2006          PAGE 35
                                                         MICHIGAN CITY PARKS AND RECREATION


                                                     The biggest concern about the
                                                     beach is closures. Safety always
                                                     comes first. Dangerous rip currents
                                                     or unhealthy high e coli bacteria
                                                     counts will close the beach. When
                                                     either situation arises the people are
                                                     advised not to go in the water and
                                                     the lifeguards leave their station.
                                                     The lifeguards do not patrol a closed
                                                     beach. The La Porte County Health
                                                     Department conducts daily testing of
                                                     the     water    adjacent     to   the
                                                     Washington Park beach. When said
                                                     testing reveals unhealthy bacterial
                                                     counts or the presence of rip
currents are known, the red flag is flown at the lifeguard tower to warn swimmers of the
danger. The red flags are also raised at the two entrances to the park along with
warning signs stating that the beach is closed. The beach will remain closed until
acceptable test results are obtained or the rip currents are no longer present. The local
media also help to spread word of the warnings. The Park Department provides beach
safety information at and also has a Beach Conditions Hot Line
at (219)873-1406 x390.

Although the bright sun bring many to the
lakefront, another concern is the lack of
shade near the beach. People unprepared
for this lack of shade may experience
sunburn or sunstroke. Those who decide
to stroll along the beach on a hot July day
barefooted will find just how uncomfortably
hot the sand can be. These conditions can
be alleviated with the addition of
boardwalks and shade structures on the
beach.        The boardwalk would be
constructed of materials that quickly
release the heat for a barefoot friendly
surface. The shade structures are colorful
structures are basically tents without sides and come in a wide range of sizes, styles
and shapes. They may be temporarily erected as temperatures dictate or they may be
left in place during the season for use at any time providing shelter from the occasional
summer shower. Shade structures are very popular at many parks. The installation of
several outdoor showers along the beach combined with comfort stations could be used
to cool off the over-heated, as well as used to wash off sandy legs and feet before
heading home.

                                        WASHINGTON PARK MASTER PLAN 2006           PAGE 36
                                                       MICHIGAN CITY PARKS AND RECREATION

Additional restroom facilities interspersed along the beach would help to keep the lake
water clean. The comfort stations are an important convenience to all guests of
Washington Park. The addition of three comfort stations along the beach is discussed
in the chapter “BUILDINGS”

Rip Currents

Rip Currents can and do cause
death, so when rip conditions are
present the designated swimming
area in Washington Park is
closed and swimmers anywhere
in Lake Michigan should stay out
of the water.     Beach patrons
should always heed posted
warnings for any and all
dangerous scenarios.

Rip Currents are sometimes
called “rip tide ”or“ undertows”.
Although       the     terminology
attempts to describe similar
phenomenon and force, it is a bit
misleading as rip currents are not
directly associated with tides and
it does not necessarily pull people under water. Rather, rips pull victims far away from
the beach and shore out into the open sea (lake). Try to imagine a sandy "underwater
river" suddenly forming on the bottom of the lake. Rips are created when accumulating
waves on shore use gravity to flow back into the open water. Something gives - the
sandbars on the lake's floor - and everything in its path is drawn away from shore out
into the open water. This is where the term “rips” comes from - the currents rips the
sandbar away and creates an underwater river. Additional information on Rip Currents
is included in the Appendix to this report.


The development of a concession/ restroom
building at the northeast corner of Lot 1 is
recommended and further discussed in the
chapter “BUILDINGS” as is the addition of
several comfort stations.

An elevated boardwalk with roll-out
boardwalks connections to the water’s edge
                                       WASHINGTON PARK MASTER PLAN 2006          PAGE 37
                                                        MICHIGAN CITY PARKS AND RECREATION

is also recommended and is discussed further in the chapter “BOARDWALKS”.

When Lake Michigan is too cold in the summer fringe months, or swimming is unsafe
due to high e coli counts or rip currents, visitors sometimes become disappointed. An
alternative activity involving water could lift the spirits of even the most stubborn two
year old. A splash pad feature would accomplish this goal. See the chapter on

In order to aid in the attempt to open some of the less utilized areas of Washington
Park, especially the area north of Fedders Alley in this case, a new guarded swim area
is recommended. This proposed swim area would be of similar size as the current
guarded area and be patrolled by Red Cross certified life guards and subject to the
same rules and safety constraints.

                                        WASHINGTON PARK MASTER PLAN 2006          PAGE 38

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