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Duke Behnke's Watchdog Q&A: Menasha's Winz Park built on concrete

2:45 PM, Oct. 12, 2013  |  Comments
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Q What is the story behind Winz Park in Menasha? Is there a structure underneath it? It's the only park I know of built on a raised slab of concrete.

A Winz Park is located on the east side of Manitowoc Street between First and Second streets. The half-acre park features basketball, tennis, hopscotch and four-square courts.

The hard-surface courts are built over a 3,000,000-gallon water storage tank called a clear well. Menasha Utilities uses the clear well to hold treated water until it can be pumped to customers.

In years past, a holding period was needed to allow time for chlorine added to the water during the treatment process to complete its work disinfecting the water. Chlorine contact time is no longer necessary in the clear well because the water utility switched to an ultraviolet disinfection process in 2007.

"We meet all of our contact time with our UV now," said Tim Gosz, Menasha's water plant supervisor. "It's basically just a storage tank."

When the clear well was built in 1988, Paul Leuthold, Menasha's former park and recreation director, launched an effort to add recreational facilities on top of the structure. Interest in the park has tapered off over the years.

"It does not receive a great deal of use at this time," said Brian Tungate, Menasha's park and recreation director. "The Park Board has plans to seek input from the neighborhood to figure out the best use of this space in the future."

The park takes its name from the Winz Brewery that was on the site.

According to the book "Menasha" by author David Galassie, the brewery was founded in 1860 and purchased by Werner Winz in 1881. It remained in operation until Prohibition caused it to close in 1920.

"At its peak, Winz Brewing, also known as the Menasha Brewing Co., brewed 5,000 barrels of beer yearly and shipped them all over Wisconsin," the book says.

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