Dear editor,

I would like to add a few comments on the article regarding the changes made at Diversey Harbor [“Ships of Fools?” May 9]. As was pointed out, these changes have been discussed for over two years now. The harbor in its old condition caused many of the problems Ms. Breckenridge addressed. The need for mooring posts on the north wall was a result of all those pretty star docks. One person would have to dinghy out to the star, retrieve their boat, and then pick up friends and supplies on the wall. With more walk-on docks, that will be decreased. There was a statement that with the new docks “the harbor will be overwhelmed by all the boats.” Later in the article Ben Joravsky notes “they wouldn’t enable more boats to dock”: I believe the net gain in boat spaces is seven. The comment was made that the new docks would drive away boaters who are not rich. This is untrue. Boaters had the option of staying on their star dock for the same fees paid last year, but so few took that option that the new, more expensive spaces were granted by seniority.

The new configuration should also prove to be safer. Many of the old docks were unsafe and in need of replacing. The need to dinghy back from docking your boat, often in the dark with larger boats having to see you and then maneuver to avoid you, created problems.

In his article, Ben Joravsky states that some people are paying up to $1,800. That is true, but most are paying far more than that, some in excess of $3,800. The Chicago harbors, in comparison to others on the lake (Hammond), were outdated and in need of major change. Being a lifelong Lincoln Park resident, I too have always appreciated the beauty of the harbor and enjoyed walking its paths. Now as a boater, who like all the other boaters has made financial and time commitments in making the place attractive, enjoyable, and safe, I also realize it has to be functional. In its previous condition, it was not. I regret that Ms. Breckenridge did not participate in the many discussions about improving the harbor; many did, and suggestions were given and compromises made. It’s unfortunate that she feels compelled to take it upon herself to try to undo the hard work of many residents and boaters with litigation.

In closing, I would like to think that the harbor still holds all of its charm and beauty, in addition to being safer and better managed.

Jim Donnary

Lincoln Park