PHOTOS: Sussex Quarry Has No Future for Swimmers
Don’t expect to start swimming in the Sussex quarry at Mammoth Springs anytime soon, even after the old Cannery site is finally developed.
With the quarry open for swimming at Menomonee Park to the northeast, it’s not hard for some residents to wonder if the Sussex quarry might soon be open for business. Even some initial plans of the site label the space as “Quarry Restoration.”
“I was walking on the Bugline last night and finally walked up to the chain link fence to peek at the old swimming hole,” wrote Sussex Patch blogger Katie Glafcke. “I have to say, it looked like the perfect place to take a dip and cool off! I’m wondering why it's locked up, and thinking revitalizing and maintaining a quarry for public swimming would be a less costly alternative to building a public swimming pool.”
However, while the idea of opening the quarry to swimmers sounds ideal, Village Administrator Jeremy Smith says it’s not in the cards. Because the entire Mammoth Springs property is now owned by private developer Arthur Sawall, insuring swimmers would be risky.
“From a personal liability standpoint, Mr. Sawall doesn’t want to take on that responsibility,” Smith said. “It’s private property now, and because of the liability insurance, you have to look at it from a legal perspective.”
Smith said the quarry at Menomonee Park is different because it’s owned by Menomonee Falls, and government entities are protected from being sued in different ways than if a private developer owned it.
And part of that protection is due to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"You have to provide accessibility for everyone to the quarry’s beach, and there’s not much that’s ADA accessible about getting there.”
In the 1950s, the quarry had a large chunk of stone blown out by the Sussex Lions Club and Al Halquist to make a wading area for swimmers, according to the Sussex Sun. The village then managed the summertime swimming hole.
However, the quarry was eventually shut down due to the ADA, the same law Waukesha County officials are citing as the reason the Bugline is being paved.
“The ADA was one of the reasons the quarry was shut down,” Smith explained. “Under that law, you have to provide accessibility for everyone to the quarry’s beach, and there’s not much that’s ADA accessible about getting there.”
And Mammoth Springs developer Arthur Sawall confirmed he plans to restore it, but turning it into a swimming hole isn't going to happen.
"My plan is to enhance the quarry meaning create a walking path around it and a decorative fence for safety reasons," Sawall said in an email. "As for swimming I think my insurance company would drop me and…," finished Sawall.
So while residents may have fond memories of swimming at the quarry, the future life of the site is to be a little Sussex wonder.
“When we are able to get the development up and running, it’ll be beautiful for the public to be able to see the body of water,” Smith said. “But now, it’s a hidden gem.”
Editor's Note: This story was updated on June 2 with Arthur Sawall's comment.