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Third Muskego lake park idea goes under

Aldermen cite concerns in 6-1 vote against proposal

Dec. 2, 2013

Muskego — The third proposal for a park on Little Muskego Lake has now sunk.

In a straw poll, the Muskego Common Council Committee of the Whole voted 6 to 1 to drop the idea of buying two vacant homes, razing them and turning the property into a park. Cost and the fact that the park would be on two sides of a private home were the main reasons why.

The vote came despite the fact that 25 out of 42 people giving input on the park said they liked the idea. The feedback came from a public information meeting on the park proposal. There also was an online feedback opportunity.

Family's disappointment

The park proposal was tied to an offer to the city by the family of a deceased woman who had lived on Little Muskego Lake for many years.

After Betty Lemke died last year, her heirs gave the city first crack at buying two homes she had owned on Janesville Road just west of Pioneer Drive, in keeping with her wishes.

Speaking of his mother's thoughts on a park, John Lemke said, "It was something she thought would have been nice."

Reacting to the city not pursuing the park proposal, he said, "I'm mildly disappointed," adding that he and his four siblings will now decide what will be next for the homes.

Reasons for 'no' vote

The six aldermen who voted to drop the plan tended to view 42 people as too small of a sample to give a valid indication of community feeling. And some cited other issues

"I have a number of concerns," Alderman Kevin Kubacki said.

First was that two acres is too small for a park, Kubacki said, and the nearest parking would be on Pioneer Drive, across four-lane Janesville Road. Not only that, the city's dam next to the westernmost home would have to be screened off to keep children away for safety reasons, he said.

"Kids want to crawl over everything," he said.

He was also worried about the affect on the Jim and Heidi Lindhorst home on the eastern border of the park, which would have gone around that home and extended in a narrow strip along the lake east of the home.

"To me, it presented problems for the family," Kubacki said.

Alderman Robert Wolfe said the city would be spreading itself too thin financially if it spent the estimated $666,000 to provide a grassy lakeside park. Next year, the city will spend $700,000 to continue development of Park Arthur and $600,000 for a recreation trail along Racine Avenue to Muskego High School, he noted.

Wolfe also said didn't like losing $15,000 in city revenue if the two properties became public.

"We shouldn't lose taxable property," Wolfe said.

Limited support

Alderman Rob Glazier, who cast the only vote not to drop the park idea, said he felt there was enough evidence of public support to satisfy him.

"We didn't get a ton of feedback, but there was enough positive feedback," Glazier said.

He added that he would have liked to get a better idea of the cost and what a park plan might look like.

Glazier also said he liked this park idea more than the other two previous ones because it's smaller and less costly but still could serve as a catalyst for development on nearby Pioneer Drive. He saw an almost identical symbiotic relationship work in Michigan.

Calling Pioneer Drive unique in the city, Glazier said, "I think a renaissance will occur."

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