The Janesville city fathers have provided “easy access” to the downtown Rock River.

However, egress from the river due to the high walls eluded them until an 8-year-old fell in and got swept away. Had this happened in March or earlier, hypothermia becomes a game changer.

Last September, a woman kayaker was rescued from Rock River during “extremely dangerous” conditions. Two things come to mind regarding river issues.

First, “the gene pool has no life guard.” A Tupperware kayak or a life jacket doesn't guarantee you against drowning. Experienced, heavy-weather sailors and whitewater paddlers know this.

Second, the city fathers don't think about Rock River beyond its marketing value for the ARISE project. Their spin-selling Janesville as a mecca for anglers and paddlers won't convince people who spend time on the water.

If you're looking for an aquatic adventure that revives the spirit and beacons your return, our urban Rock River ain't it. From Centerway Dam to Racine Street, boaters will see stone walls, parking lots and the backs of ugly buildings. Hello, City Hall. Has anyone on fourth floor ever gone on a boat ride?

Given the downtown river “improvements” (likewise Monterey Park), it's obvious that the city fathers don't know their J-stroke from a back paddle.

DENNIS GOODENOUGH

Janesville

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