Lake Geneva's Andy Gump
Lake Geneva's Andy Gump

The Committee for the Beautification of Lake Geneva should really be called the Lake Geneva Concrete Committee, for their plans to “beautify” Flat Iron Park appears to involve a lot of concrete. This private group presented their plans on April 14th, 2010 to spend what appears to be over a million dollars of Tax Increment Finance (real estate taxes which are being diverted from the schools) to:

  • Put speed bumps on Wrigley Drive and Center Street, despite the fact that traffic does not speed there and would make bicycling extremely hazardous.
  • Put roundabouts at the Center St. boat launch & Wrigley Drive. This will allow for the eventual closure of Wrigley Drive.
  • Building a new brick bypass road between Wrigley and Center St. through the park.
  • Putting a “splash” public pool in the park. This would be better named a “pee” pool with little children “using” it during the day and Lake Geneva Wisconsin’s drunks “relieving” themselves at night.
  • An elevated stage in the center of the park.
  • A Ceremony Space/Ice Rink.
  • Three piers with sixty boat slips in front of Andy Gump. This last “beautification” will make even old “Andy” LOL. Boat slips on the southeast shore of Lake Geneva without shore stations is asking for it from Mother Nature and result in a “great”  (sic) view of Lake Geneva.
  • Removing the city boat slips from the Lagoon.
  • Planting about $50K of  “perennials and shrubs”, so during Lake Geneva’s annual Venetian Festival, the carnival and beer tent patrons can have at them.
  • Cutting down eight mature trees and the loss of 20 parking spaces.
  • Squeeze in a series of concrete sidewalks throughout the park, or what is left of a park.

Several alderpersons in attendance questioned Grace Eckland, the person who presented the plans, about who exactly on the committee put the boat slips in front of old Andy, and who put the roundabouts in the plan. Grace Eckland refused to say, only that it was “WE”.

Alderperson Mary Jo Fesenmaier stated that the council would have to look at the project and decide. Then Dan Winkler from the Utility Department stated the plan has already been approved. It has not. Park Board President Alan Kupsik tried to make this “presentation” an official Park Board Meeting, so as to approve it. This did not fly. I guess “They” were hoping a different mayor would be elected in the recent election who would promote this pork barrel project.

The Committee’s plans call for doing this in multiple stages so as not to have to need voter approval via referendum.

Several members of this private group where in attendance, they are various contractors and relatives such as Mrs. Tom Jacobs of Otto Jacobs Ready Mixed Concrete. The Committee for the Beautification of Lake Geneva is registered to a Lake Geneva post office box by Richard Torhorst. Attorney Torhorst is also a member of another private group that doesn’t have to pay taxes, The Geneva Lake Development Corp.

Who will really benefit from this “beautification”?

  • Not the tax payers who will have to pay for it and ultimately have to pay for it’s costly maintenance.
  • Not local residents who need Wrigley Drive and Center Street to get across town.
  • Definitely not the local downtown merchants, who surely will feel the effects of the closing of Wrigley Drive and the added traffic to Center Street.

Beside the concrete companies, the big winner in this so called “beautification project” will be the Cove of Lake Geneva who will have very accessible boat slips, an “event area”, a public pool, and easier lakefront access—all at taxpayer expense. The same Cove of Lake Geneva which has been very late three years in a row turning over to the city the room taxes they collect.

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  1. Our city has to “fight” for a new fire truck and these people want to use our money to destroy green space. They don’t want to build a park, they want to build a business. The people of Lake Geneva need to stand up and say NO! We do not need a concrete jungle. We do not need to spend ludicrous amounts of money for this ridiculous proposal. What a selfish idea.

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