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BACK TO THE FUTURE

 

Is it Hillmoor or is it Mirbeau-Hummel all over again?  Is there a ‘flux capacitor’ hidden somewhere, a central feature inside a Delorean automobile stored behind some highway sign?

Eleven years ago, the Mirbeau-Hummel people came to Lake Geneva, bought a huge tract of land in the Town of Linn, and then promptly figured out a way for Lake Geneva to annex it.  Once that part of the game was played, these people finagled around and got the City of Lake Geneva to make a lot of mistakes when the public became inflamed and refused to along with a giant development being built on the property right into the tender western side of the city.  Mirbeau-Hummel sued, and then because of Lake Geneva’s supposed legal errors, won and received three million dollars, or so, from Lake Geneva’s insurance carrier.  Following that, and even though the city’s legal staff and other political leadership committed contract zoning violations, the property was sold to J.B. Pritzker for many millions more.  The angel Pritzker bought the property to keep it from being developed and should go down in history as one of Lake Geneva’s all-time good guys because of that.

Will there be an angel to come along on Hillmoor?  Hillmoor, the former golf course, was bought by White Water Holdings LLC out of downtown Chicago.  The same crap as the Hummel people pulled has been repeated.  Zoning changes were requested (to make the cheaply purchased property more valuable) and then denied.  Upon denial, just like with Mirabal Hummel, the White Water LLC filed suit.  This week the Lake Geneva City Council met once more in secret.  The council calls these meetings ‘closed sessions’ and resents them being referred to as secret…which, of course, they are.

What are the city’s leaders discussing and what are they planning to give these barely disguised charlatans, if anything at all?  The meeting on Monday night, where this secret meeting was placed way down on the agenda, was attended by about thirty citizens, which is a huge turnout for post-pandemic (mostly) meetings.  The people are back, and they are very interested in what happens to this last big chunk of Lake Geneva land, and not one soul in the municipal meeting council meeting room was in favor of Hillmoor being developed. The old ‘Friends of Hillmoor’ group was partially reassembled and present, passing out little brochures requesting that citizens unite and force the leadership to acquire the property, and then do something wonderful with it.  The six million dollars that went into the Riviera redevelopment was mentioned as an example of what might be raised.  Think about how devastating it would be for the community to lose that flagship building.

The Yerkes Observatory was also mentioned with respect to it being a wonder of recovery and cultural ambiance for Williams Bay, and then on to the rest of the lake community populations.  The Hillmoor property cannot be left solely in the hands of the Lake Geneva City Council to decide.  This piece of property is simply too important for that.  The population in and around Lake Geneva has to be fully involved and the only way that is going to happen is if the population is informed, and not left to be ‘mushrooms growing in the dark and fed crap.’

The Geneva Shore Report is dedicated to saving Hillmoor and supporting the Friends of Hillmoor, just as it was in saving the Hummel property.  That ‘saving’ cannot be done by a newspaper alone, or an organization like the Friends of Hillmoor either.  The community must come together, and, in some ways, be brought together.

 

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