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Our Story

Heart of the Harbor is a harbor revitalization project prominently located at the end of East Main Street next to the Interurban Trail on the harbor. 

It has taken several years in design and planning by many dedicated volunteers for The Heart of the Harbor to finally become a reality. What began as a subcommittee of the all-volunteer Main Street Design Committee has sprouted into a team of enthusiastic volunteers through all of the Port Washington Main Street program.

The original idea to develop the underutilized area directly south of Dockside Deli was part of a larger initiative to beautify downtown Port Washington. A small group of dedicated individuals hailing all walks – from long-time natives who own businesses to local architects, recent retiree arrivals and marketers – gathered on a monthly basis for several years to piece together a roadmap that would end with the unveiling of a public space binding the community together in a homey space right on the harbor. The location was envisioned as a place for residents and visitors alike to gather and enjoy events, public art, and Lake Michigan. Each individual at the table brought not only their skill set but a devoted passion to create something special for everyone who stopped at the Port harbor.

Without fail, the idea to bring more art to Port Washington was the crux of the plaza design. At the center of the space will be a 12-foot tall Public Art Sculpture with a fire feature designed by local artist Jesse Meyer. This fire feature has been extensively researched for both beauty, economy and safety. Surrounding the sculpture will be urban green space landscaping, a rain garden, benches, tables, sunshades, and bike racks designed and built by students at Port Washington High School. Brick pavers will be the finishing touch. It will be a tranquil and welcoming resting spot along the Interurban Trail and for local families and residents alike. Several of the committee members are parents with young children, and hope to continually build upon the notion that Port is a safe home port for all.

We acknowledge COVID-19 has had an impact on everyone. While we are often stuck indoors, outdoor public spaces are needed more than ever! These spaces can serve as part of our social, economic and emotional recovery, as well as establish a long-lasting reputation for downtown Port Washington as an easily accessible and enjoyable locale. With the ongoing pandemic, a family-oriented space to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and lake scenery is needed now more than ever—especially one with sustainable city flavor that will last much longer than a quarantine! 

With your help, we are excited to make this project a reality with an expected completion date of June 2021! As Port Washington Main Street is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, your contribution to your city is tax deductible. PWMS is committed to enriching downtown Port Washington in partnership with the Business Improvement District through strategic marketing, downtown events, community activities, economic development efforts, and design projects like Heart of the Harbor. As one of only 36 Main Street Communities in Wisconsin, Port Washington Main Street prides itself in representing 28 blocks and over 125 businesses that make up our wonderful community on the shores of Lake Michigan.

The Role of Port Washington Main Street

Port Washington is home to an award-winning downtown district. With our scenic Lake Michigan lakeshore beauty, historic buildings, unique lakefront shops, unique and plentiful restaurants, entertainment, and water harbor activities, you are sure to see why your next Wisconsin family vacation or Lake Michigan road trip MUST include a stop in Port.

Port Washington Main Street is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization committed to building downtown Port Washington in partnership with our Business Improvement District through strategic marketing, downtown promotional events, community activities and economic development efforts. Port Washington Main Street is one of 36 Wisconsin Main Street communities, and is a nationally accredited Main Street program through the National Main Street Center. Representing 28 blocks and over 125 businesses, it is our mission to enhance our community identity and heritage, further develop a center of activity and ensure economic stability.


Port Washington Main Street Volunteers

Port Washington Main Street Board Members

Nate Scherper – President

Kelly Brown – Vice President

Cathy Hanson – Secretary

BreAnna Porth – Treasurer

Melissa Alexander – Executive Director

Brian Barber  

Laura Burke 

Marty Becker  

Nicole Dudei  

Robert Harris  

Merton Lueptow

Kathy Tank  

Sharon Waranka

Heart Of The Harbor Committee Members

Judy Cotter – Design Chair

Nate Scherper – Fundraising/Marketing Chair

Laura Burke

Kelly Brown

Sara Dahmen  

Cathy Hanson  

Robert Harris  

Jeff Lamont

Taylor Last

Tracy Milkowski  

Charles Nitzke

Rory Palubiski  

Karen Rhyan

Adele Richert

Douglas Schaefer  

Nicole Shaver

Scott Subach 

Don Voigt

MaryAnn Voigt

Amanda Williams

Port Washington Main Street


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