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Lake Park Will Always Be a Possibility, Say Planners

Plan Commission recommends keeping language in the city's 2020 Comprehensive Plan that speaks of lake access from downtown, but even without any language about a lake park, some feel it will always be a possibility.

Like it or not, property owners around the lake could decide at some point in the future to offer their land for purchase by the city to be used as a park, no matter what language exists in the city's 2020 Comprehensive Plan.

That seemed to be the conclusion plan commissioners drew as they reviewed the options of rewording the plan, which outlines the city's vision for the next 10 years.

A second attempt to develop a public park on Little Muskego Lake fell through this spring because of vocal opposition and the Shortly afterward requests for a removal of references to those properties in city planning documents were made, and they were removed from the parks and conservation plan.

The references are noted in the 2020 Comprehensive Plan as well, but whether just the specific references to the two parcels involved in the offer to purchase should be removed, or if all references to any lake park acquistion should be stricken.

City Planner Jeff Muenkel had presented the elimination of all references to the Common Council at their June 26 meeting, but also recommended in a separate memo that the general references remain.

"The amendment also 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 wrote.

One of the paragraphs recommended to remain in the plan reads:

"Bringing back the lake to downtown Muskego was a large topic during the formulation of this Plan. At this point of time, there is no direct access or views to Little Muskego Lake from the downtown and Janesville Road. This Plan looks to promote increased lake access and view sheds to the lake."

Alderman Dan Soltysiak argued that the Comp Plan has been a guide but has been changed previously, so removing all references did not necessarily prevent any future developments, as some lake park proponents fear.

"Removing the language does not remove the possibility for the city if they are approached by property owners who want to sell to them," he said.

However, commissioner Chris Buckmaster felt that removing all of the language might "give people false hope" in thinking no possibility would exist in the future for acquisition of property on the lake for a public park.

Ultimately the commission voted to recommend removing only the specific references to the two parcels involved in the purchase offer.

The Common Council will take the recommendation up as they take a final vote at their meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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