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There’s a problem in Lake Geneva, and it’s caused by a small cabal of people who have anything but the residents of Lake Geneva’s peace and goodwill in mind.  Development at its worst, the elements of which are the crummy “stinking” teeming kind, is all about (and very similar to) only three geographic locations, “the deadly trio”.

Hillmoor, that large plot of land which was once a golf course on the east side of the city off Highway 50,

Wrigley Drive (including Flat Iron Park and the small park area in front of the Riviera pier complex),

And finally, South Lakeshore Drive, the beautiful scenic drive that runs north and south along BigFoot Beach in front of the state park called South Lakeshore Drive.

Hillmoor, if commercially developed, would completely clog up all summer traffic running east and west on Highway 50, and there is simply no ability for traffic to drive out the backside of the place.  There’s no good resident reason to develop that property.  The closure of Wrigley Drive would not only lose hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of parking fees, it would also harshly impact the restaurant row that currently is set up in a line along the north side of that drive.  There’s no good resident reason to close that road, whatsoever.  Finally, the rerouting of South Lake Shore Drive, ostensibly to allow for the move of the downtown boat launch to that location, makes no resident-oriented sense at all.  The very best view of the lake from a car is along that drive.  Re-routing South Lake Shore Drive would open up the Maytag Lagoon to development as a yacht or boat basin and thereby limit the public’s ability to easily access that view of the lake, everyone who lives around it has so come to love it.

What can be done to stop this trio of silent and deadly disasters from happening?  There is only one thing that influences how the city council will vote, with respect to approving such terrible ideas and plans. That one thing is attending the meetings and speaking out at those meetings (even just attending can be most influential). The people who sit on the council, including the major (who only breaks tie votes) all live in and around Lake Geneva itself.  Many of them have business interests in Lake Geneva proper, and they really do care what the public thinks, and how the public might choose to express its feelings about development projects.  The problem is that most of these really nice and credible people on the council don’t have a clue about what the public thinks unless the public shows up to make its voice and feelings heard, and then felt. When there are fifty or more citizens sitting in front of a gathering of the council members those members pay attention.  They have to live among and, in many cases, do business with the residents.  When the council meetings are not attended those representatives get the idea that the residents don’t really care what they do, otherwise they would show up like the council members have to.

It can be boring and not a lot of fun to attend some council meetings, but the payoff is huge. When the council has a large number of citizens sitting in front of it, with some of those residents speaking out at the lecterns, it acts differently.  Real attention is paid to whatever is on the council agenda.  That real attention results in deep thought and consideration that is often not otherwise there when meetings are held that have nobody present.

Attend the meetings if you care…and care you should if you want Lake Geneva to remain the wonder of small-town charm that it has grown to become.


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