A concept proposal for the Parkland Mall site could resolve an ongoing lawsuit and the controversy over the city's planned purchase of the Dilworth property for development of a public park on Little Muskego Lake.
Developer Art Dyer owns the former Parkland Mall site, along Janesville Road between Lannon and Parkland Drives. He filed suit against the city in 2009, stating he was deprived of his constitutional rights when the city thwarted his efforts to develop the property. That lawsuit is scheduled for mediation in spring.
The city has approved purchase of the Dilworth property on Little Muskego Lake for development into a public park with lake access on Jan 24., but opponents of the plan collected 3,400 signatures, in an attempt to halt the purchase and force a referendum.
The two issues have largely been separate, but Dyer's proposal could change that.
The concept proposal includes a sort-of land trade, according to a letter Patch obtained from Alderman Kert Harenda, which attempts to summarize a discussion Dyer had with him and fellow Alderman Neil Borgman. The letter from Harenda to Dyer outlines some details of the proposal, including a plan to have Dyer sell the Parkland Mall property to Dilworth, with a portion of the land to become a public park. Dyer would then offer to purchase Dilworth's home and property "at an agreed value," and a deed restriction prohibiting its use as a public park would be placed on the property.
This proposal comes just as the Common Council is slated to discuss the purchase of the lakefront Dilworth property, which passed on a 4-3 vote. There has been no confirmation from Dyer or Michael Dilworth's attorney Gerald Boisits that the two have discussed Dyer's proposal.
The proposal would give Muskego an additional park on the Parkland Mall site, and leave the Dilworth property in private ownership. Harenda noted that the city's 2020 Comprehensive Plan allows for access to the lake at Schubring's Bay off of Lannon Drive, and could be a compromise, giving residents an alternate site for a park with lake access, according to Harenda.
The public park area on the Parkland Mall site could be purchased with available landfill revenue funds, according to the proposal. The recent lake park purchase calls for the use of $2 million of the funds.
In addition, Dyer is proposing a $10 million tax incremental district to go toward land development on the Parkland Mall site, if it meets TID requirement.
Harenda said he had hoped to bring the ideas from Dyer to a Committee of the Whole meeting, but despite a request to the Mayor, one has not yet been scheduled. He wanted the proposal and any discussion on it to be public.
Harenda's letter to Dyer stated that he felt "the proposal to be with merit for additional investigation and (that it) needs to be reviewed by the City of Muskego."
However, he felt Dyer needed to come forward and present a more formal plan to the Common Council at a COW meeting. The issue is not on the agenda for the Common Council meeting scheduled for 7pm on Tuesday at , but a discussion item to reconsider the offer to purchase of the Dilworth property will be.
News of this new proposal could impact what the council decides to do with the lake park resolution, as well as the petition for direct legislation.