WHEN LAKE GENEVA’S SOUL WAS IN THE LOST AND FOUND…
Although the words in this headline come from the lyrics of the song: “You make me feel like a natural woman,” by Aretha Franklin, the meaning is clear and the situation that poignant, as Lake Geneva teeters on the edge of a cloying pool of lurking developers waiting just below. The next words in her song are: “and you came along to claim it,” meaning the claiming of that soul.
Who will come along to claim Lake Geneva’s battered and wavering soul? Not the current city leadership, all of whom, with the amazing exception of Cindy Flower and Tim Dunn, voted ‘yes’ to adopting the current, as yet to be presented, Lake Geneva Comprehensive Plan. There was no plan to be read in at the meeting two weeks ago and there was no plan to be presented for the second reading on Monday night. Not that the public is aware of, simply because Dan Draper, Lake Geneva’s sleepy and inattentive city attorney, allows such things as “readings” where there is no document to read.
The comprehensive plan that was voted on, and passed by a vote of six to two (the vote had to have three dissenters to be sent back to the plan commission to have its obnoxious amendments removed), which only had one map, lacked the most definitive parts of the plan. But never mind, the rule change that allowed the reading in of ordinances and plans, in order to not read them orally and fully at council sessions to save time, has become a license for the kind of civil disobedience to obeying rules and downright lying to support such disobedience, that such a purported document like this new comprehensive plan becomes laughable, or it would if it did not involve looming tragedy for some of Lake Geneva’s most beloved locations.
That the potential closure of Wrigley Drive and the moving away from the lake of South Lake Shore Drive, currently running past BigFoot Beach, has been voted into the comprehensive plan is a terrible thing because it sets a legal precedent. That John Halverson, formerly editor of the Lake Geneva Regional Newsletter, would sit up at the council meeting and flatly lie about the inclusion of those things simply in order to better study and learn about them, was sad to watch. Normally a solidly principled man and city councilperson, this white-haired strait-laced man of wisdom decided to fold his tent and plainly misstate what it means to have the closure of Wrigley and moving of South Lake Shore Drive put inside the comprehensive plan. The precedence that having those things, both issues that could have been considered at any time (and have been considered several times in years passed), put inside the plan gives great legal credence to any developer who wants to pursue doing those things.
Developers like Brian Pollard, who’s clubhouse and land would become lakefront property if South Lake Shore Drive was moved, and people like Mike Keefe and Roger Wolf, who own property along Wrigley Drive and just adjacent to the city’s library. The city’s library that has also, magically, come up for rebuilding in ways never discussed or advertised before they became the subject of two public meetings.
An election is coming up in April. Names will not matter nearly as much as knowing who voted for this travesty of a currently non-existent comprehensive plan, or what stand they took in getting it passed. There is nothing that cannot be undone by those in office and the residents of Lake Geneva, so many of whom were present when this comprehensive plan was voted on, must vote for those who oppose such moves taking place in their community. If you want a beautiful place that continues to radiate warm radiance and classy small-town charm, then you must go to the election polling booths and fight for it.