The future looks bright for swimming at Bay Beach

The hey day of swimming off the shore of Bay Beach in Green Bay are long gone but city officials are ready to turn back time.

GREEN BAY - The future looks bright for Bay Beach--more than 70 years after pollution forced swimmers out of the water.

Just beyond the train tracks at Bay Beach Amusement Park, there's a beach patiently waiting to reopen.

"This park provides picnic space, rides, entertainment, a hall, maybe a place to have weddings, family reunions, a place to entertain the kids and the family, and the beach is just another piece of that opportunity to bring families and enjoy time together," said Dave Charles with Friends of Bay Beach.

With the hashtag Bring Back the Beach, this event is letting people living in the Green Bay area know that change is coming.

"A lot of it for us is just educating the community. I don't think a lot of people realize there was a beach at Bay Beach in the past. This is just a real good awareness for that," Jennifer Kaminski with Leadership Green Bay.

The beach was a popular spot on hot summer days in the 1890s.

Green Bay native Sandra Adams was born decades after the beach closed due to pollution, but her grandma told her stories about the popular attraction.

"I heard my grandparents talk about how they would have parties and dances here and everybody got along," said Sandra Adams.

While the memories of what the beach used to be remain, black and white photos also give us a glimpse of the past.

Adams would like to recreate some of those pictures with her own family when the beach opens.

"I think it would be great. It's something more for the kids to do and not having to go out of town to go to the beach. It's right here in your backyard," Adams said.

One question many people have, is the water safe to swim in? Researchers tested the waters in the summers of 2012, 2013, and 2014 and they say the water and sand quality is safe.

Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt estimates the beach restoration project to cost more than $500,000.

"This is going to be great for the beach. It's going to be great for the families. It's also going to help the city to elevate itself to attract people," said Mayor Schmitt.

While the rides continue to be the main attraction at the park, maybe one day the shoreline will also be full of people.

As fundraising efforts and planning continues, Green Bay's mayor says the beach could reopen within three years.

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