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Park proposal tearing the community apart

Muskego property owners withdrew from sale to city

April 16, 2012

Muskego - There is little additional information this week as to why the owners of two lake properties Muskego was on the verge of buying for a controversial lake park suddenly withdrew those properties two weeks ago.

The attorney for the developer and owner of one of the properties did not return phone calls. Hugh O'Halloran who represents Nan Gardetto who owns the other property that has been known as the Cherek property, said that home would go on the market soon.

"And it will be sold I assume to a residential purchaser of some sort," O'Halloran said.

His client thought she was helping the community by offering the city the chance to buy her home along with the house next door and create a park, O'Halloran said.

"She saw a park in the master plan and thought it was a good thing," he said.

But when it was clear that the lake park proposal was tearing the community apart, she did not want to move forward, he said.

The home next door to the east that Gardetto's mother lives in and was not part of the park proposal is already on the market. It has been for about six months. With the uncertainty about the park now cleared up, O'Halloran said the owners hope for a sale.

Developer owns other home

The other home involved in the park proposal is owned by Michael Dillworth of Ener-Con Companies, a Greenfield-based development company.

When Dillworth offered the city the chance to buy the two properties for a park he said through his attorney Gerald Boisits that Ener-Con had plans to develop the lot just west of the future park with a mix of residential and commercial building.

If the city didn't want the properties, Boisits said Ener-Con was ready to go forward with what it considers its plan B.

That plan for the area of Janesville Road just north of Pioneer Drive involves eight homes and two commercial buildings. They would be on the western lot that was offered for the park and on the lot west of that, which Ener-Con planned to develop, anyway, under the park plan. Homes stand on both the lots.

Plans for that project had not been submitted to City Hall as of Monday.

Park affected election results

Ironically, as word came out on election day that the two park properties had been withdrawn, the park proposal probably played a major role in Alderwoman Tracy Snead losing her seat and it triggered recall efforts against two other aldermen and Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti.

Candidates with reservations about going forward with the proposed park seemed to do better in the spring election. Aldermen Neil Borgman and Dan Soltysiak who adamantly opposed going ahead without more cost information and an evaluation of the need for a park handily won re-election. Their opponents either supported the park or were less vocal about demanding more information.

Snead, however, who supported going ahead with the park, was soundly defeated by Robert Wolfe whose campaign was critical of city spending.

- Jane Ford-Stewart

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