After the Vote: Muskego Reacts
As predictable as a 4-3 council vote was for many Tuesday night, so were the reactions after the meeting.
As the Muskego Common Council got to voting on the original resolution on an offer to purchase land on Little Muskego Lake and the 4-3 vote in favor was recorded, the reaction from the crowd was immediate.
The opponents yelled out 'shame' and 'recall Chiaverotti' and 'rubber stamp' and those in favor, who had been for the most part stoic during public and council discussion, broke into smiles and handshakes.
"I really don't believe they listened to us tonight," said Lorie Oliver, who has been the voice of the opposition, recently formed as a political action committee called Muskego for Ethical Government. As the group had indicated a petition was being circulated, and approximately 600 signatures were already collected to halt a vote and request a referendum, the focus Oliver said was to complete that task now.
"We will work on the petitions, and it would seem we will have enough to prevent this from going forward," she said. The direct legislation may or may not impact the process, depending on the language of it, according to the city's attorney. Prior to voting, Alderman Kert Harenda asked if the legislation could halt the process if it were submitted prior to closing of the purchase, or if it were required prior to the vote.
Should the legislation come too late, Oliver said they would then consider recall actions against Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti and likely fourth district Alderman Keith Werner.
On the opposite side, Muskego Proud spokesperson Rob Lucas praised the Common Council for their hard work, and "I applaud the vision of the aldermen who voted for this resolution."
Lucas said he was pleased to see the turnout, but "extremely disappointed in the lack of decorum that people expressed when others were speaking."
The chief concern and objection by park opponents and several on the Common Council was over cost details after the land purchase. Many who spoke said cost estimates had to be attainable and didn't understand why none were presented.
Craig Anderson, Parks Director, who was often mentioned as the costs for developing the land after a sale would come from his department, said that the real work of gaining the detail on costs would be just beginning, and would be up to the residents to determine.
"We are looking forward to working with the public to help create this park," Anderson said. "What happens now should the purchase go through is going to be up to the residents of this city. We will be seeking input through public information sessions and stakeholder meetings, just as we had with Park Arthur."
Anderson explained that the costs will also be up to the public, stating that requests prior to a land purchase would be impossible to determine without knowing first what the public would like to see in the park.
"It would be like you hiring a landscaper and leaving him a note saying you'd like your lawn landscaped without any other detail, and how much would that cost? Costs will be in the details of what the public wants to see on this land, and we want them to have a very direct hand in what the plans for this park end up looking like."