Several boats are docked along the West End Pier

A row of boats are docked along Lake Geneva’s west end pier, a city-owned facility where about 50 boat owners pay up to $2,000 a year each to rent slips. (File photo/Regional News)

An effort to boost security on a public Lake Geneva boat pier is moving away from a security gate and toward less obstructive options.

City aldermen are voicing support for a decorative “swing gate” and other alternatives such as signage to discourage unwanted intrusions on the west end pier.

Confronted by boat owners who complained about poor security on the city-owned pier, city officials in March discussed installing a security gate to keep non-boat owners off the pier.

Boat owners renting space on the pier had complained about vandalism to their boats, dogs running loose and people jumping off the pier to swim in the lake.

City staff calculated that a security gate would cost $8,470 to install.

Aldermen said they now want to look for alternatives that would be less expensive and less disruptive to people on the pier.

Alderwoman Selena Proksa said the city could control many issues on the pier by improving monitoring of foot traffic on the facilities.

“I’m not a big fan of the gate,” Proksa said. “I think a lot of this we brought on ourselves for not monitoring the area.”

The issue came up again at a May 7 meeting of the city council’s finance, license and regulation committee.

No cost estimates were presented for the swing gate concept.

Alderman Doug Skates said such a gate could have a decorative arching sign that says “Lake Geneva West End Pier,” similar to a sign over a gate at a pier in Fontana.

“It’s very friendly and happy-looking,” Skates said. “It’s not ominous.”

Alderman Richard Hedlund said a swing gate also would provide more convenient access for people who are walking on the pier.

“That would keep the dogs off, but it would still allow people who are dragging a cooler to their boat to get through,” he said.

Hedlund also said he has been approached by a person offering to donate the cost of the swing gate.

The pier is located at the west end of Riviera Beach and has about 50 boat slips where boaters pay between $1,700 to $2,000 a year to dock their boats during the summer.

Non-boat owners also use the pier frequently to walk along the water, to walk their dogs, and to jump into the water.

Aldermen said they want to consider more details about the design and cost of the swing gate before making a decision. The committee is scheduled to discuss the issue again in June.

Skates said informational signs could be posted such as “no sunbathing,” “no fishing,” “no dogs off leash” and “no swimming.”

“When you walk up, you will know what the rules are,” he said.

He also suggested that city community resource officers could step up patrols on the pier.

“They will be nice in the beginning,” Skates said. “But after a while, they will write tickets.”