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The company that went to work to excavate the old gasoline tanks placed under a portion of Driehaus Park, right near the water and in front of the Riviera Pier Complex, was mysterious and seemingly shifty.  They covered the name of their company information, printed on the sides of their trucks, in order to remain mysterious and appear seemingly shifty.  Ultra-Green was the company that did the work, and it took about six minutes for GSR X-Files investigators to figure that out.

But it seems the company did not intend to be seen as mysterious, and it was certainly anything but shifty.  The head of the company simply did not want the many phone calls that would likely pour in from concerned citizens when the work was underway.  The property is city property, but the tanks were paid for by Gage Marine (the company that has the monopoly rights for taking tourists and locals out on its magnificent boats during summer months).  Gage hired the company so it could be as secretive as it wanted.

Meanwhile, back at the municipal building, public works and public utility departments of Lake Geneva, the people who run those departments (by and large the best the city has ever had) were swirling around trying to figure out who issued permits and what kind of permits were called for.  Fred, the city’s best building inspector ever, was in the hot seat and citizens and the media alike worked to find out what the messy pile of mud, tanks, equipment and more, was going to be turned into.  The rampant speculation about the likely result was not presented to the public in friendly, kindly or beautiful terms.  The old triangular plot of grassy area was deemed to be sufficient, and the tanks, being bigger and higher than the original tanks, seemed like they were going to dominate and destroy the beauty of that small stretch of park area next to the water.

But that’s not what happened.  The results are still out on DNR testing of the soil to make sure it was not contaminated, but that’s about it.  The redesign of the small area to include a couple of gentle swells of hilly terrain hs added an element of charm to the area.  The hills can be used to sit on and view the lake from a better perspective than the old flat ground that swelled up and replaced.  The tanks are down there but they are covered at the top by one large round “manhole” kind of cover that is level with the surface.  Bill Gage, of Gage Marine, has done what his company has done time after time when it comes to doing right by the community.  Yes, Gage has been mightily compensated for doing that and has also been given very preferential treatment, but sometimes such arrangements can work.

Gage Marine works, and in this case, has worked to beautify a small chunk of parkland that gave every evidence of being destroyed.  The old tanks were leaking, and that was proven beyond a doubt, but they were not leaking gas into the soil. They were leaking water down into the tanks, leaving boaters (paying huge amounts of money to buy the special “marine” gasoline) to get poor performance or possibly damage their expensive engines.  Bill Gage came through for Christmas and the guys and gals working with Ultra- Green did too.  While Lake Geneva’s mayor, Tom Hartz, tussles with whether the City of Lake Geneva should continue its pursuit of being a wonderful oasis of almost Norman Rockwell small-town image and charm, there is no question that Bill Gage and his company are the epitome of a business working to maintain Lake Geneva’s small lake image and charm.

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