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Readers Write: MHS Senior Calls Lake Park Failure a Sad Day For City

Bryan Kubel gives the perspective of a graduating senior who has grown up in Muskego, and says the loss of a park on the lake downtown is a lost opportunity.

Dear citizens of Muskego,

You may not know me because I am new to the politics scene, having just turned 18 last December. However, I have been a resident of Muskego since I was two years old and have kept on top of all of the city’s events and news since I was a young child.

I believe that today is a sad day in our city. Mr. Dilworth and the Gardettos officially pulled the plug for the city to purchase their properties and turn it into a lake park in the new downtown district. This ultimately ends the vision of creating a lake park that would have put Muskego “one wave above” our surrounding communities.

I, along with many other citizens with this vision, believed that a park would have had so many potential benefits that would have moved our city forward in terms of progress and an increase in quality of life. With this park, and the reconstructed Janesville Road, citizens from all over Muskego could have rode their bikes in the summer on the city’s ever-expanding trail system to the park to have a fun afternoon in the sun. The community could have had local music acts perform along the beach at sunset, creating an interesting and fun evening in an otherwise uneventful city. This park would have brought many other positive changes to the area. According to the city’s latest business study conducted by an outside firm, they ranked the lake park development a “high priority” to increase business in the city. The mayor also pointed out that a few businesses were looking at that area if the park were to be built. Looks like Muskego lost out on yet another business; we will never know what potential business that was.

The idea of a park would have had so many potential benefits that were unfortunately overshadowed by “the other side’s” calls to the media highlighting the false fact that “no one in Muskego wants a park.” Also, those that were opposed to the park claimed that there was a conflict of interest of the owner of one of the houses. But, wasn’t the fact that the group that started the petition/recall/calling to the media lived in the Bay Breeze condominium complex and in other lake houses also a conflict of interest? Would citizens of Bay Breeze not want a park because it would cause “too much ruckus” and that it was on “their lake?” Our lake, Little Muskego Lake, is a valuable asset that should have been exposed to the new downtown area, but will continue to be blocked by residences.

Congratulations, naysayers, you won. You didn’t get the “horrible” lake park in the community that is composed of lakes. Unfortunately, your winning prize is being shared with 24,135 other people. What is it? The prize is nothing, meaning that we will continue to not make progress in our city. Muskego will continue to be “just another average suburb” of Milwaukee. No wait, in terms of business, we are below average. This park would have put us on the map for something good for the region, and would have been great for every citizen of the city in some way or the other. Now, we will just be talked about by neighboring communities for more negative things: about for a recall that is now insignificant (their main point was about the park…what will their basis of recall now?).

It’s a total shame that the vocal minority got so loud that we lost something that could have been a catalyst for our city. Instead, we are stuck with the status quo: no main lake park in a city with three lakes, a downtown that continues to feature more dead trees than businesses and things to do, and continuing to have to leave the city to dine out. Something that was supposed to bring community spirit and bring Muskego together instead brought out bitterness and anger from citizens, and our city is now divided. Muskegoans with a sense of pride and vision, you have every right to be sad today, because it truly is a sad day.

Bryan Kubel

Robert M. Lucas April 07, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Were was your objection and this analogy on the Borst property purchase of $1.24 million. A price agreed upon by the council that is above assessed value by the way, unlike the lake park land which was below assessed and appraised value. No plan. The last time the city brought forth just an idea of a plan (the infamous "Bring Back the Lake" project), it was shot down and people were overwhelmingly opposed because they were not part of the planning process. The car the city would receive in your analogy would be decided by those that would be driving it and how much they were willing to spend. Same with the park. By the way is the car going to depreciate or appreciate in value over the years. Is it an investment that would make your portfolio or holdings more valuable or less over time. Will it be worth more or less 5, 10, 20 years from now. I think I will take the lake property over what ever car you buy. Time to stop drinking the sand thinking it is water and realize that people with vision were elected to lead this city. Your lack of vision, information and just ignorance is readily apparent. Gold plated toilets would need to be part of the plan just to come close to spending your $10 to $20 million. You believe what you have been fed. You are not alone but if you choose to remain ignorant of the facts and remain small minded then that is a choice you will have to live with. Just do not try to make yourself sound smarter then a 12th grader.
Nate D. April 08, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Wow...where to start. The Borst property...there is no plan because there is nothing to do beyond purchase the property. That was done to preserve it and I believe help control what flows into Little Muskego. I don't get your point...or perhaps you missed mine. The analogy...again you miss the point and throw out red herrings. I never said the park would cost $10 or $20 million. That is what the '?' after the numbers means. The question was a rhetorical one....and the point, which again you seemed to have missed...is that nobody knows what it will cost and what it will cost should be known before we decide to move forward on it. I am also wondering....I said "$5 million? $10 million? $20 million?" and yet you only attribute the high end numbers to me in your argument...classic move when you can't answer the main objection...distract and talk about something nobody has even mentioned. Finally...(broken record, you missed the point yet again) the point of the analogy was to show how insane it is to put money down on something you don't even know that you want or can afford. That is why the input should happen before you commit the money. Saying people will have input after they have been forced into the position is fairly lame. One final clarification...I wasn't literally comparing cars to parks as you seem to indicate with your depreciation rambling. At least that much didn't go over your head, right?
The Anti-Alinsky April 08, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Wow Nate. That’s the worst analogy ever. But I think I can take it and clean it up. First of all, it’s not a down payment. It’s a purchase. And the type is not unknown. It’s not like we would have buying a 1985 Chevette here. More like a 1967 GTO. And we had options with that ’67 GTO. We can simply drive it as is, restore it to original condition, customize or trick it out. With the last lake park proposal, we could have converted one of those homes into a senior center, taken everything down to the ground, or used the area as is. The real world doesn’t work the way you describe it either. There are very few people or companies that will design a building/site prior to buying a property. The builder/architect has a vision, but details usually don’t get down on paper until after the location is secured. By the way, your silly speculations on the cost of development are unrealistic. Yes, the majority of common council voted for a lake park, but all of them were savvy enough to know spending $5 to 20 million to develop it would be political suicide. And don’t forget when Mayor Johnson brought forward a CONCEPTUAL plan for Bring Back the lake, the pre-MEGNOG group erroneously pointed to that as a done deal.
The Anti-Alinsky April 08, 2012 at 07:03 PM
It’s politics like this that scare me in this city. We have groups that go out of their way to spread falsehood like yours just to get their way. In the mean time, Muskego will not be know as having a beautiful downtown lake park. Instead it will be known as the city that airs its dirty laundry every time the city leaders try to move this city forward.
Suzi Link April 19, 2012 at 05:54 PM
The Borst property is a wonderful comparison. As a "conservancy" park, the natural features will be protected forever with minimal maintenance costs. According to the parks director, this park will have pedestrian/nature trails and (possibly) a horseback riding trail. Instead of the roughly $1,000,000 .00 per acre cost of the proposed Lake Park, the Borst property cost the City $11,923.08 per acre BEFORE the City is given donations from the DNR, the Muskego Lakes Land Conservancy, the Little Muskego Lake. That means that per acre, the Borst property costs LESS THAN 2% of the proposed lake park for 26 TIMES THE PARK SPACE. HMMMMMM!!!! Which park makes more sense for Muskego taxpayers and residents?

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