Closure of Menasha lock concerns area businesses, boaters

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MENASHA, Wis. — The indefinite closure of the Menasha lock has some local residents worried that decreased boat traffic will mean decreased business.

The Appleton Post-Crescent Media reports that 9,565 boats and nearly 37,000 passengers have traveled through the lock in the last five years. In September, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources closed the lock to keep round gobies, an invasive species, from reaching the Lake Winnebago System.

The lock will stay closed for the start of the 2016 boating season, and possibly longer.

Menasha’s harbormaster, Diane Schabach, says the closure is huge. She fears it will limit boat traffic, which drives gasoline sales, shopping and dining. She hopes that redevelopment of downtown Menasha will make the town a destination for boaters, instead of a town to pass by.