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Glass-container ban eyed at Waukegan beach

Despite ban alcohol Waukegan Municipal Beach officials said thbroken glass bottles still pose problem. Sun-Times Medifile

Despite a ban on alcohol at Waukegan Municipal Beach, officials said that broken glass bottles still pose a problem. Sun-Times Media file

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Updated: June 19, 2013 3:03AM

WAUKEGAN — Despite a ban on alcohol at Waukegan Municipal Beach, officials say broken glass bottles still pose a problem at the Sea Horse Drive facility, and they’re looking at putting hefty fines behind a new ban on glass containers.

“Broken glass and bare feet don’t mix,” said 2nd Ward Ald. Thomas Koncan. The City Council has given a receptive initial review of a measure that proposes $50 fines for a first offense and $100 for subsequent violations.

City Attorney Anne Linn said the fines “can be any amount that you all feel appropriate up to $750,” adding that she feels “a few tickets written down there will probably take care of the situation.”

Both 3rd Ward Ald. Gregory Moisio and 4th Ward Ald. Harold Beadling called for the fines to be higher than proposed.

“In my mind, $50 is not enough (for a first offense). We could go to $100,” said Moisio, who said “according to our garbage collection down there, a lot of the stuff is broken bottles and glass, and that’s just not a safe environment.”

Beadling, recalling an incident last summer where he unsuccessfully tried to call for officers to cite offenders of the beach’s prohibition on alcohol, expressed doubt that any ban can be enforced effectively.

“I’m wondering who’s going to patrol the beach. Obviously, we can’t have a police officer down there,” he said, referring to reduced ranks in recent years for the Waukegan Police Department. “I’m not complaining about it. I’m just a little frustrated.”

Linn said that the idea of a glass-container ban comes as the city works on an arrangement for trash collection at Municipal Beach, a duty that used to be performed by lifeguards until those positions fell victim to budget cuts in 2010.

She added that bans on glass are “very common (at) other public beaches in the area and really all over the United States. We have never had a ban on glass containers on the beach, but last year, it really came to our attention that this was a problem.”

According to Linn, volunteer clean-up crews combing the sand last summer found “various glass bottles, some with their tops broken off — sort of a land mine-type situation.”

A measure is expected to be enacted prior to the formal opening of Municipal Beach for Memorial Day weekend.

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