CONTROVERSY IS NO STRANGER
Charlene Klein came into office as Mayor of Lake Geneva in the quiet before the Coronavirus storm really struck the heart of Walworth County. The virus wasn’t an issue in the election, of either Charlene or the three city alderpersons who came into office at the same time. There were issues generating terrific interest and pressure when the election took place. Three issues were dominant over all others.
Those were; the development of Hillmoor, the rerouting of BigFoot Beach’s Lake Shore Drive, and the potential closure of Wrigley Drive in downtown Lake Geneva. The Hillmoor property controversy disappeared into a silent waiting place, either lurking in purgatory or Limbo, depending upon the belief system of the beholder. The redevelopment of the Riviera Pier Complex, before it was basically renamed the Riviera Building by David Nord, Lake Geneva’s city administrator, rose up as Hillmoor quieted. What’s going to be developed on the inside of the Riviera Building now that the exterior is completed, and where’s the money, (since Covid19 is here), going to come from?
Cindy Flower, one of the few survivors of the over-haul of the elected city government in Lake Geneva, is playing a major role in what might be happening, while David Nord remains just out of sight in the background. Cindy chairs the public works committee. The Riviera building, traditionally under the care and keeping of the piers and harbor committee, was moved by Nord to the public works committee. After that success, Cindy put Wrigley on the agenda of her committee to see if she could convince a majority of other committee members to close the drive for the 4th of July celebration. Charlene Klein has Tim Dunn, Mary Jo Fesenmaier, and Joni on that committee, however. Cindy may have a tougher time than she thought to get the drive closed. Closure of the drive, even for one day, would help set a precedent for future closure that could be more permanent. The excuse to close is based on the problems caused by public reaction to the spread of the virus, and also how overwhelmed the city was on the Memorial Day weekend. That leaves the Lake Shore Drive highway, commonly called Paradise Highway, because of the gorgeousness of the view when driving either north or south on it while passing by BigFoot Beach summer, winter, spring, or fall. The beach has eroded on BigFoot, because of deliberate inattention by every entity, including the State Park, the DNR, Lake Geneva, and Town of Linn.
Admittedly, the Town of Linn only owns a tiny bit of the BigFoot property. The road has eroded, the beach being double-fenced off enclosure, and gravel instead of asphalt has been used to repair the road’s surface. Certainly, the opening of the “fix” that was put in to allow Symphony Bay’s clubhouse to turn the southern end into what might become the “dead man’s curve” posted by the Geneva Shore Report in 2018 may also be a convincer for rerouting the wonder of that highway.
Still, with glee and abandon, the wealthy boaters of Geneva Lake cavort in the shallows right off the beach, their boats all tied and moored with buoys and anchors a few feet away. They have been gifted that waterside area, while the people of lesser means get to use the park across the road, the one the powers that be, took all the trees from a few years back. Charlene, Lake Geneva’s Mayor comes quietly with steady force. Her three new alderpersons work with her, just as silently, but with expressive hope.
Can they, together, save Wrigley Drive, Paradise Road, and the interior of the Riviera while also tamping down potential “fire” with the Hillmoor property?