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A Potential Lake Park Still Scares Some Residents

Still stinging from two heated battles over lake property being used for public park land, residents express opposition to changes in plans that don't go far enough.

It's been a little quiet at Common Council meetings lately, but a proposal to remove some references to a lake park from the city's comprehensive plans was enough to bring both sides out Tuesday to argue whether the changes go far enough.

Earlier, the references to the properties involved in a public lake park development along Janesville Road, which fell through in April after heated debate and a change of heart by the property owners, were removed in the parks plan. It was now turn to make similar changes to the city's 2020 Comprehensive Plan.

However, some residents opposed to the city's potential purchase of land on the lake for a public park felt all references to lake park developments should be removed from the plan.

City Planner Jeff Muenkel explained in a memo to council: "Removing the exact locations desired for a lake park from the 2020 map and text is fair since we don’t know exactly where such a lake park could be defined in the future."

The changes would take the specific properties indicated on a map, which were at the heart of the earlier debate, out of consideration for future development. However, residents still felt that including any reference to lake park development left those properties and others open for the same type of purchase by the city.

"The text in the 2020 Plan and Map could still note that the city will consider a future lake park access should the current governing body decide to and should an opportunity come the Council’s way," Muenkel advised in the memo. "Doing so does not solidify any requirement of the city to establish a lake park access but at least preserves the intent of the 2020 Comprehensive Plan when it was adopted. Further it shows that the City of Muskego believes that the lake is an asset to the present/future of the community and that the city desires to still consider anything that may benefit the future prosperity of the city."

Muenkel was taken to task by various lake residents for leaving the door open for another round of debate on the purchase of a lake park.

"Did you ever kill a centipede and the legs kept moving? Well, that is what this feels like," commented Heidi Lindhorst, a resident who also owns property next to the parcels that were a part of the potential sale to the city.

However, other familiar voices felt striking the specific properties was enough, and eliminating any park possibilty for the lake was wrong.

"Let's be honest — this is about 'not on my lake, at any cost' from a small minority of residents," said Rob Lucas, who has been a spokesperson for Muskego Proud. The group was vocally in favor of a public park during this year's debates.

"Let's use common sense here — a minority of residents live on this lake; a majority of residents have very limited access to the lake. Let's not hamstring this council by striking all the language. A lot of very intelligent people put forth a lot of intelligent hours into that plan, and it wasn't for nothing," Lucas said.

The input will go to the Plan Commission on July 9 to review and make any further recommendations, then return to the Common Council again. The process frustrated Alderman Neil Borgman, who grilled Muenkel as to why they even needed to hold the public hearing at the council meeting

Muenkel said city code required the hearing be held there first.

Noe Whay June 29, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I'm not sure who i agree with more, you or Rob Lucas. Well put.
diane June 29, 2012 at 07:05 PM
4300 signatures opposing the Lake park is not a minority nor only lakefront owners. How can you possibly dismiss 4300 people?
proud of muskego June 30, 2012 at 05:08 AM
4,300 people said NO. 4,300 people do not live on the lake. ENOUGH! We just went thru a very expensive recall election because many were complaining that things were not fair and now we have our own version of "recalls". Stop. What is the hidden agenda behind this park, why does it keep resurfacing in creative little ways???? What is really the motives of these groups. We have a new chance for Idle Isle and a new ice cream stand that is creating a great deal of publicity. Fix up that park, visit that park, use that park, and in several years when that park is so heavily attended, and proven that we need another park on the lake then let's discuss. Idle Isle is vacant the majority of the time, people don't want to use the park on the lake and the voters have said NO to another park on the lake. NO means NO!
Muskego Held Hostage June 30, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Diane and Proud', please get the numbers right.........it was 3600 people not 4300 people who signed the petition and a lot of those that signed didn't have a clue as to what was involved. Now that summer's here, the road's being built, Jammin' has shown success and our community is building and expanding, I bet quite a few would change their mind about signing (and what they signed.) Give our city a break!! Since when can an ice cream stand compare with what was planned. I agree dead is dead. Beaten to death by just a few people. Shame, Shame.
The Anti-Alinsky June 30, 2012 at 11:16 PM
MHH I agree. It is a shame that politics in Muskego has gotten to a point where MEG/"Not On My Lake"/"Let's stay in the 1990's" crowd throws fear into the city by spreading lies. Maybe we need to start a direct legislation petition to put the goal of having a lake park on the Common Council's agenda. In fact I wonder how many of those 3600 would sign that petition.

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