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Muskego considers $3.55 million land purchase for lake access

Jan. 18, 2012

Muskego - City officials will discuss next week whether to make an offer to purchase two Little Muskego Lake parcels along Janesville Road for a park for $3.55 million.

The idea of developing a park along this area of the lake - once home to Muskego Beach and DandiLion Park - has been discussed for some time.

On Tuesday, the Common Council will meet at 7 p.m. to hear from the public about the possible acquisition of the 4.6 acres along Janesville Road near Pioneer Drive. The council then could vote on whether to make an offer to purchase the property, which has 365 feet of lake frontage, Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti said Wednesday.

The city's 2020 comprehensive plan, adopted in 2009, called for the city to take steps to purchase lake property along Janesville Road if possible in an effort to bring public lake access back to the area.

The area the city is considering purchasing is near what was known as Muskego Beach between 1861 and 1967. It started as a resort hotel and store. Later, amusement rides and a dance hall were added, and when a new owner took over in 1967, the name changed to DandiLion Park, which closed in early 1978.

Much of the 35-acre site became the Bay Breeze condominiums.

The two properties being offered to the city were part of a "Bring Back the Lake" proposal that the city considered in early 2010.

That proposal, pitched by developer Michael Dilworth and city officials, envisioned a park area with a beach house and concession building, picnic shelters, an area for concerts, trails and three to four buildings that would have retail and commercial space on the first floor and condominiums on upper floors.

The plan would have required the city to spend $10 million to purchase about a 12-acre parcel.

That proposal was abandoned.

In August 2011, Dilworth then proposed two alternatives for the area, including one that offered the city the opportunity to purchase part of the site that would allow for the creation of a park and beach along the lake.

The park plan included a proposal to build four houses and one condo/retail building on a parcel west of the park acreage.

The plan that does not include the park proposes eight houses near the lake and two buildings off Janesville Road that would have condominiums and retail space for restaurants and gift shops.

Dilworth owns one of the parcels the city is considering buying.

Chiaverotti said the city on Tuesday is only considering park options.

Muskego Planner Adam Trzebiatowski said no retail or residential development is being proposed for the 4.6 acres.

If the city approves the property purchase, Chiaverotti said, the park development process would be handled by the Parks and Recreation Board. The board would seek public comment on park plans, she said.

The city has information about the proposed lake property purchase on its website at ci.muskego.wi.us under the "What's New" heading.

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