Another lake park idea floats into view in Muskego
Smaller concept involves property from original 2010 proposal
Muskego — After two larger and extremely controversial concepts for a park on Little Muskego Lake sunk, a third proposal has lapped ashore.
Muskego Common Council was expected to officially hear a Tuesday presentation of the proposal for the city to buy and likely raze two homes on the east side of the lake dam to create a bit of public green space.
(The meeting was held after press deadline. Go online to MyMuskegoNOW.com for the updated information.)
The properties offered by the heirs of a Betty Lemke, who lived on the lake for many years and died in August 2012, are just west of Janesville Road and Pioneer Drive. The easternmost property goes around a third home next door and includes a narrow strip of lake frontage extending about 138 feet to the east.
The woman's house was included with four others in the first park proposal in 2010. That proposal foundered amid the controversy that engulfed the community. A second smaller park was proposed later but it also proved controversial and failed.
In the latest propsal, on behalf of himself and his four siblings, Jonathan Lemke wrote to the Common Council in offering the land and homes at a cost estimated at $666,000.
"The green space park proposal was embraced by our mother who felt it would preserve the beauty of the lake and land she treasured for over 80 years."
The proposal involves a total of about 2.1 acres of land. The westernmost home, at W18104 Boszhardt Lane, that's closest to the dam has 1.9 acres with 289 feet of lake frontage, although more than 130 feet has limited access. The total assessed value is $478,900.
The other home and land are assessed at $344,100 and offer 0.23 acres and 65 feet of lake frontage.
If the Common Council wants to pursue the offer, Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti suggested the public should be allowed to join in the conversation early in the process.
"It will be my recommendation to have a public information meeting," the mayor said. "The public needs to weigh in on it."
Unless the council drops it after the presentation, this would be only the start of a long process, she said.
Jerry LeClaire, one of the Bay Breeze condominium residents who was outspoken about the other park proposals, said he and his neighbors wanted to come Tuesday to learn more.
The newest proposal might be free of at least some of the issues that dogged the two earlier Bring Back the Lake proposals.
The larger park vision was rejected in 2010 mainly for being too big and expensive. It also would have involved tearing down two mansions, resulting in a significant loss of the city's tax base. Critics didn't believe the tax base could be made up with the new residential and commercial construction that the developer proposed.
Loss of tax base, along with parking and other concerns, also played a role in the demise of the second and smaller Bring Back the Lake proposal in 2011.
The second proposal spawned local political unrest. Citizen groups formed on both sides of the issue. Park opponents picketed officials homes and considered seeking a recall of aldermen who supported the proposal before it was eventually cast aside in 2012.
A park on Little Muskego Lake in the area of what used to be Muskego Beach/DandiLion Park — which put Muskego on the map in the early days — was recommended in the city's 2020 Comprehensive Plan. It was thought that such a park would not only be enjoyed by residents and visitors but could act as a focal point for development of a downtown in Muskego's original downtown on Pioneer Drive.
But feeling against the park proposals was so strong that city officials took the lake park recommendation out of the Comprehensive Plan last year.
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