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Since November of last year, the residents and visitors have been barred from Lake Geneva’s beach, as well as the lookout area that sits up over the top of the beach house. The ice castle was a good winter attraction and after it closed the huge block of ice on the beach was expected to remain for several months, but the blockage of the entire beach (and mess that has been left behind so far) was not expected. The ice castle’s equipment, fence, gate, and construction equipment is still piled on top of the beach house, and their huge unit is parked on the beach along the water’s edge making the area look like a construction or a demolition site, not a resort beach.

The huge unit cannot be removed until the ice melts, because the mound of ice (formerly the ice castle) is blocking the only path out to and through the Riviera driveway. Being so near to the beach, this closure affects all of us who enjoy walking on the beach, but affecting some more than others as a young man said when he came to Lake Geneva with his fiancée: “I had hoped to ask my fiancée to marry me on the beach by the Rivera, where my father had asked my mother, but access to the beach is blocked.” Much of the ice castle stuff left behind could have, and should have, been removed when the castle was closed. If that had been done then fully half of the beach would be open today. Cleanup, cost of cleanup and inconvenience that it will create should be included with the request package to the city council, and not left as an ugly after event surprise. When will this mess be cleaned up and the beach repaired?

No one knows because it will take an act of God (warm weather) before the cleanup work can even be scheduled. In any case, the beach has been closed to the residents, tourists, and visitors for six months and the days keep piling up, one after another. Finally, there are the pipes that were buried two to three feet under the sand to be considered. Those pipes all have to be dug up and removed before fresh and can be brought in to lay over the dirty sand left by the remains of the ice castle. When the Dells had the experience of ice castle cleanup to deal with that community was not happy with the way it was conducted. Seven hundred hours of city work time needed to be devoted to cleaning up the remainder of the mess when the ice castle equipment and the remnants were finally removed from the area it occupied.

There is no question that the ice castle did indeed live up to its expectations and all the pre-ice castle hype before it came. The town was filled with visitors paying to go through the place, although there is no ability for city officials, or anyone else, to measure just what effect this influx of tourists had on shops and restaurants. The hotels and motels were filled to capacity for much of the time the ice castle was fully operational, however.

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