THE WILLIAMS BAY OVERTURE
Williams Bay faces yet another battle with the former elementary school. Many local Williams Bay residents (those aware of the situation) are battling with the idea of the former elementary school, located on Congress Street, being converted into a Health and Wellness Center. Rich Thomas, a local resident who lives directly across the street from the school says, most residents that live beyond a block’s diameter of the school do not realize the negative impact this proposed center will have on the community as a whole.
MBC Center LLC made up of Tom Hartz (Lake Geneva’s Mayor), Bethany Sousa, and a Chicago resident Mason Awtry, have been said to choose their words carefully when speaking with residents and the Williams Bay Village board members about the proposal and image of the health and wellness centers for corporate “get-togethers.” The proposed wellness center is currently planned to consist of thirty dormitory guest suites for overnight guests, parking lots to accommodate employees and visitors, a modern lecture hall, health, and wellness treatment rooms and many more amenities to serve an upscale corporate set. Local citizen Rich is concerned that the villagers and business owners are possibly being mislead about the type of wellness center this could turn out to be.
With the passage of the applied for, and approved, conditional use permit the center may be used for more than just corporate “ team building” retreats. The proposed plan does not explain, or show in detail the centers type of clientele, or type of health treatments that will be addressed, and to be fair, that information was never asked for.
What must be considered, given that applicants do not have to spell out what the property might be used for or converted into in the future, is the quality of the participants in building and maintaining property and business interests that exhibit the same quality the participants have evidenced in the past. Bethany has been a creative force and a terrific benefit to Lake Geneva over the years she’s been in business there. Mr. Hartz is unarguably the owner of the most successful and neatest, sharpest and most innovative restaurant within twenty-five miles of Lake Geneva. Both Bethany and Hartz have stood the test of time in developing quality and community congruent businesses. Hartz was also voted into office as mayor of Lake Geneva by an overwhelming margin of voters. Since being elected to office, Mr. Hartz has done nothing to dispel the public’s feeling that he can be trusted to take the community in a quality direction.
There is a very popular classical musical piece called the William Tell Overture. William Tell is the name of a legendary marksman who supposedly shot an arrow through an apple atop his son’s head. He’s also known as a man who assassinated an important governmental figure and caused a revolution. Williams Bay was not named after William Tell, but it should consider that man’s legend as it proceeds into the future; is this project, set in the very heart of Williams Bay, a question of accurate impact or is it a question of community assassination?
For the time being, and with the participants involved, it would appear to be a case of the latter but only time will tell.