Could Muskego's Lake Park End Up At Parkland Mall Site?

Art Dyer makes overtures that point at a way to settle longtime dispute over 11-acre parcel; however developer is not confirming if the deal would also settle dispute over Dilworth property.

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. 

Simple Bacon February 13, 2012 at 06:45 PM
So, Muskego Proud is against a park if it's part of a development down the road at Parkland Mall? I guess your enthusiasm extends only so far away from your own development deal aka Ingold Cove. Personally, I think there's more transparency in Dyer's concept than what we've seen at lake park. And I don't think he's mentioned the strip mall. Imagine mixed use, with a park, within a few steps of the library, chamber, post office. There's really some potential there. What's the harm in looking at his idea? Let's do something good and not just something quick.
The Anti-Alinsky February 13, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Bacon, what are you talking about? We know NOTHING about Dyer's proposal other than he is interested in a swap. I will remind you that this is the developer that wanted to build a county/western monstrocity called Cowtown on the west side of the city, proposed a seven plus story monolith at the Parkland site, and when he finally got plan approval, wanted city financing with a 3 million dollar TIF. Now he is asking for a $10 million TIF? If you are so in favor of this, why are you even against $3 million for the Dilworth properties? And don't forget, you would still be buying from a developer, something your group pointed out repeatedly with the lake park! Having said all that, the possibility does have SOME merit. However, I would caution our city leaders to get very clear details ASAP, and remind them who they are working with. $10 million inTIF has me very concened!
Simple Bacon February 13, 2012 at 07:57 PM
A) This is a concept and I believe it warrants further review. You know what he's proposing, you know what it could cost, you know he (Dyer) will not be the developer at Parkland. What more do you need to know to have a discussion with the guy? It's more than we know about the current proposal. Like it or not someone is going to have to talk with him if the tree farm is ever to get developed. B) Yeah, I favor TIFs that promote development. That's what they are meant to do. And FYI. TIFs should not be turned into slush funds which is what is happening now by appropriating $750,000 of "left over" TIF funds to buy the lake properties. That does not concern you at all? C) I agree a $10M TIF doesn't fly without analysis. But at least he's up front with what he wants. D) I don't have a group. Only opinions and I think I'm pretty consistent in my asking for the City to do their due diligence before agreeing to any deal. I'm just amazed that people don't flinch at spending $3.55M with no plan in place. That people are not questioning where the financing would come from. Geez, is a plan on the lake park too much to ask for? Are we really not at all interested in resolving the tree farm fiasco? Not at all? Can't even bring the Dyer concept to the city for discussion? Wow...
Bryan K. February 13, 2012 at 09:11 PM
This has the potential to be a great idea. I'm all for redeveloping Parkland Mall (as is everyone in Muskego), and hopefully this would resolve that lawsuit against the city. However, the Parkland Mall site could not be "all park." This is why I'm glad only a certain part of it would be set aside for parkland. I would love to see restaurants, shops, and apartments all in this area, along with a town square area with a gazebo for music events. Hopefully they can incorporate the PNC bank building and the ugly building that houses the Post Office into this project (like in the artist drawing from 9 years ago) into this to make it seem complete and whole. However, how would the connection be made to a potential lake beach on Lannon be made with this potential development. If you look at the area on Google Maps, the Parkland Mall site is further south and not directly across from Schubring Bay. Also, how would the city acquire the 4-5 houses that are currently there? Also, why would a deed restriction need to be made on the Dilworth property? What if this transaction fails during the process and we are left with nothing? That would be another question of mine. No doubt if this were to materialize and actually be approved would this be a catalyst to the Janesville Road corridor. I could definitely see major benefits to this project. If the beach, the park, and the business development are integrated seamlessly, I'm all for it! This would "kill two birds with one stone!"
Bryan K. February 13, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Don't get me wrong... I'm still pro-park at Janesville and Pioneer, but if something can be worked out where residents get a lake park and a true downtown hub, I would almost favor that project.
The Anti-Alinsky February 13, 2012 at 09:44 PM
A) As I said, yes the plan has some merit. But my point is we know less about this than the current lake park resolution. We know the current proposal is for 3.55 million. We know that it would be for 4.6 acres. We know that there would be 365 feet of lake frontage. We don't know how much Mr. Dyer would be asking for his proposal. We don't know how many acres he is proposing. We don't know how much lake frontage (if any) this would include. B) I am not completely familiar with TIFs, but my understanding is that any monies collected can only spent for development in the TID area. I'm not sure how the "slush" fund comes in, but if it goes for development to further business development, than doesn't that fit the purpose of of a TIF? C) Agreed, the $10 million needs further analysis D) I meant "your group" in a broader sense than an organization. I haven't read anything you have written to support a park, so I assumed you were with Suzi and her group. I did not mean to offend. A plan for the lake would be good to have, but under the Bring Back The Lake plan the opposition pointed to the conceptual plans and claimed it was a done deal (which confuses me more since it it was a done deal why were they trying to stop it). Now that the purchase has been approved, the city can proceed with the planning stage.
Marguerite Ingold February 13, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Hey Simple Bacon Get your facts straight! Ingold Cove has nothing to do with Muskego Proud and never has. I doubt very many people were even aware of it. I must remind you that a 2 lane boulevard will be coming right down the "janesville road". So much for just a few steps. When there was a plan for a park you didn't like it. Now that it's open for our citizen's input, you still don't like it. Make up your mind.
Denise Konkol (Editor) February 13, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Wanted to pass along a release from the city/Mayor Chiaverotti, which addresses a few questions I had. Patch was asked to air the communication (in the article) just to avoid any perceptions that discussions were private, and my understanding is that Mr. Dyer is being asked by the aldermen to come to the city formally with a proposal. "All alderman are aware, per legal counsel, that meeting and discussing active litigation with the plaintiff (Mr. Dyer) can jeopardize the city’s position. The aldermen represent the citizens of Muskego and communications with the plaintiffs or Art Dyer might cause harm in this manner. The City has received no communication from Mr. Dilworth supporting the contents of the recent media coverage. Additionally, as I understand it, all matters involving development within the city must generally follow a process, which involves formal written submittal of any proposal to the appropriate department for proper review before being placed on an agenda."
Simple Bacon February 14, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Just passing along comments from my Alderman. I apologize and shouldn't have traded in heresay. What I was told, by my Alderman some time ago when he was speaking with consitutuents, was that the park was to be tied in with the Ingold project. Again, I don't know that for a fact. I stand corrected. In defense, I think your misreading my comments. I want public input. Typically the City would have a public hearing prior to a purchase of land of this magnitude that hasn't been done. And, no, the City has not offered a plan. They've said they have to purchase the land before they can develop a plan. Kind of like we have to pass the law before we can read it...I disagree with that approach.
EX20 February 14, 2012 at 04:31 AM
This seems to be a good direction to move in.........$10 million vs $??? that Dyer could get if he wins the lawsuit. Killing two birds with one stone makes sense.
SBR February 14, 2012 at 06:19 AM
His brothers he is not. Little Kurt H. is foolishly communicating with a plaintiff of a lawsuit against us, the citizens of Muskego. If Mr Dyer has a proposal, present it through the plan department. Little Kurt is being irresponsible by having on going communication with this man. Smart. Thank god for re-districting. The plan may or may not have merit, but Alderman, you are not the one who should be negotiating or even having discussions about it.
tom sauer February 14, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I think this would be a great idea...even if it meant tearing a few houses down on Lannon to expand the idea. From left field thats for sure.
JBean February 14, 2012 at 03:27 PM
@SBR - Grow up! Now your lowering yourself to name calling. Christ at least spell his name correctly. There were how many people who came out and states they did not want to "Bring Back the Lake" before. Same people now. The tax payers who turned down money going to the school system, now say they rather give money to the school instead of making another park Muskego doesn't NEED or WANT! They also have stated that the majority of them want to get rid of the tree farm. THIS IS NOTHING NEW TO THE COMMON COUNCIL AND THE MAYOR. Now comes an idea to put Parklawn tree farm to bed and move forward and have a downtown in Muskego where it should be and you question on why it was not presented to the plan department or the mayor?? Really? you think they would have listened? For the Alderman who meet with Mr. Dyer did nothing wrong that would impact the lawsuit going on, if anything it would hopefully bring an end to it. Sounds to me like killing two birds with one stone IS something to look further into at least. For you to say the Alderman have been having ongoing communications is false too. I know my Alderman spoke at last's meeting saying he was speaking for the people, well I for one know he is just doing what he wants when he doesn't return emails or calls to find out what my questions and views are. So NO he does not speak for me!!
The Warrior February 14, 2012 at 03:37 PM
JBean, the school district and city are separate enities with different budgets. The school referendum and park issue are also separate things. And yes, the aldermen did do wrong by meeting with Dyer. They represent the city, who is in the midst of a lawsuit with Dyer. If you were an employee of a company and you went on your own to speak to someone who has pending lawsuit against your company, you would be fired. All Herenda is trying to do is muddle the situation and throw more gas on the fire. All it takes is meeting or talking with Dyer once. This proposal most likely will not go anywhere. It does take Dilworth going along with it and based on his track record vs Dyer's, who would you count on getting something down with their own property? Again, learn the facts people!
JBean February 14, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I know they are separate! You missed my point about what tax payers want their money to go towards. What are they so afraid of? That they find out the majority of Muskego doesn't want a park there and the are wrong for speaking on our behalf. Let the people vote on it!
The Anti-Alinsky February 14, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Absolutely Suzi. Theses alderman should have gotten the Mayor and the City Attorney involved immediately. However, as I said, the plan has merit and the possibility should be explored. We should just have the right people involved.
Lloyd Hawes February 14, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Are Alderman Kert Harenda and Alderman Neil Borgman breaking the law or hurting the cities positiion by talking with Art Dyer? Do they have the authority to do this? The Park should be on the lake not in town where we need more business establishments. Lloyd Hawes
JBean February 14, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Oh like the mayor would even listen to anything...
JBean February 14, 2012 at 06:14 PM
I disagree, I rather have the eye-sore taken care of over a park on the lake!
Muskego Mike February 14, 2012 at 06:32 PM
What's all the rush about. Put together a full plan that everyone can participate in and understand all the costs, then let the people vote on it. If the good people of Muskego decide a park on the lake is a great idea, then start looking for property.
Marguerite Ingold February 14, 2012 at 07:11 PM
JBean Did you ever hear the old saying; "between two chairs you end up on the floor" Also miss those two birds and you end up with the stone. Keep business in town and Park on the lake.
obtw February 14, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Oh, I love old sayings. Here are two for you: Haste makes waste. and A fool and his money are soon parted.
Suzi Link February 14, 2012 at 10:24 PM
To "The Anti-Alinsky" Your most recent posting is in need of a clarification. You stated that you assumed another participant in this forum was connected "with Suzi and her group". Unless you are referring to the 'other SuzI' recently posting on the Patch, you have appeared to jump to an incorrect assumption. While I was one of the volunteers involved in the "Direct Legislation Petition" effort, I am not an officer or registered member of any current group or organization in Muskego. I have not spoken or posted on behalf of anyone but myself. Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Suzi Link February 14, 2012 at 10:50 PM
The Anti-Alinsky February 14, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Suzi, you do not need to be a actual "member" to be know as being a part of a group. However, if associating you with Muskego for Ethical Government is insulting to you, I offer my apologies.
The Anti-Alinsky February 14, 2012 at 11:35 PM
and "He who hesitates is lost"
SBR February 15, 2012 at 12:41 AM
I stand by the statement that Alderman Kurt is jeopardizing all of us Citizen's by meeting with a man who is suing all of us. He is a officer of our city and should act like it. He has no authority to do this on his own and is actually putting himself at personal financial risk by working outside of our cities attorneys instructions regarding this suit. Nice job Kurt. Enjoy retirement. Btw, this has nothing to do with my opinion of the lake project. I don't support it as presented.
Simple Bacon February 15, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Nope not going to happen now. What's a 3.55 million dollar purchase of land when we stand to lose 100 million in a lawsuit? Love the weather in Muskego these days. It just rains dollar bills....
Suzi Link February 16, 2012 at 04:59 AM
TO THE ANTI..... I am in no way insulted to be associated with Muskego for Ethical Government. Quite the opposite, in fact. My point is that Muskego for Ethical Government is not "MY" group. I am simply trying to keep the record straight.
Mary C. Steinbauer April 13, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I have wondered for years why Muskego is not attracting business like neighboring communities as New Berlin, Franklin, Big Bend, Mukwonago, Oak Creek and Hales Corners. Our population has doubled since I moved here in 1984. The TIF is used in other communities and a lot more than $10 million. The tax base would be more balanced with the help of business, and this would help home owners taxes.


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