Letter to the Editor

Working families' children denied access to public beach

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Have we stomped all over working families' rights to enjoy the city of Okoboji's beautiful public beaches? Did we steal our working families' children's summer memories because we were intimated by the wealth and power of the families on Holiday Way and the Okoboji Promenade?

Best way to understand the theft of summer memories: Go to the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Holiday Way with a survey showing Holiday Way is a public 50 foot wide public corridor running all the way down to the lake from Lakeshore Drive over Lakeshore Road to Lake Okoboji. Walk to the entrance of the beautiful walkway and steep steps heading to the beaches of Lake Okoboji which, for the most part, working families are not allowed to use.

Ask yourself: Why has the city of Okoboji, probably in violation of common sense and the Americans with Disabilities Act, provided no handrails to help young mothers or disabled veterans negotiate their way to the lake's beaches, which they aren't allowed to use?

You will find, on the left side of the entrance, a utility box and an iron fire plug. They make the entrance appear more like an industrial entrance rather than the entrance to millions of dollars of beautiful lakeshore beaches which the city has allowed wealthy homeowners to take from working families.

You will find on the right side of the entrance, the city has allowed a large stone to be placed on city property to make sure no young mother can safely park. You will also find a very unfriendly sign for all to see: "No Parking Anytime." In other words, keep off your own property.

The city, with stone cold indifference, has provided no thoughtful safe public parking for working families. To make matters worse, the city has worked with or allowed homeowners to place sprinkling systems on city property going down the walkway and steps with the force of a fire hose. The city has apparently worked with the homeowners to run the sprinklers from about 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. almost five days a week. That way the city and homeowners can prevent working families from taking their children early in the morning to fish off the dock. They prevent a working mother from bringing a cup of coffee, walking down to the dock and enjoying the beauty of the new day.

The city apparently thinks it is in good taste to set the sprinklers on fast and full force so they can also soak the early morning walkers on the Promenade. Once you get down to the Promenade, look to your left, look to your right and you will see the real theft of little children and summer memories.

You will see where the city has allowed wealthy homeowners to take public property for their own use from the public (about 1,350 feet to 1,400 feet of Lake Okoboji's beautiful beaches and lakeshore, again worth millions of dollars). The city has allowed wealthy homeowners to divide the beautiful beaches and lakeshore into 50 foot sections, where the homeowners have installed docks, hoist and barriers every 50 feet on public beaches so working families children cannot run up and down the beaches enjoying their summer days on beautiful Lake Okoboji.

What are as a community saying to working families? Your children may someday grow up and be good enough to serve in the military or become a law enforcement officer. But your children were not and never will be good enough to run, play on the beautiful beaches and Lakeshores of the City of Okoboji.

William Murphy

Okoboji