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HILLMOOR, RIVIERA, AND THE YERKES OBSERVATORY

What do these wonderful Geneva Lake edifices have in common, and how is it that they seem mired in the same kind of frozen bureaucratic miasma and mess of serious, secret and never-ending decision-making that might make most socialistic cultures, even compared to those of Geneva Lake’s small size, seem pure and wonderfully efficient?

How is it that the Hillmoor property issue cannot be settled to anyone’s satisfaction, and as the winter of two thousand nineteen begins to bite in, and festers along, with the same ineffective forces talking, counseling and holding public hearings, but going nowhere?  The Riviera reconstruction is going through a similar process, whereby nothing seems to be decided, money is talked about but not disseminated, and the redevelopment plays right into the satisfaction of blowing cold gods descending with their below zero might, to assure that whatever might be done will be done under the very worst of circumstances?

The Yerkes Observatory is in a similar situation, although, of the three wildly beautiful and spectacular sites around the lake mentioned, seems more stuck in some kind of science-fiction tableau where time is stopped, as if some impenetrable dome has been lowered over the property, whereby people can drive there, look past the edges of the perimeter to view a non-functioning, but well-kept facility inside?

The local governments around the lake appear populated with bright citizens, displaying more than passing interest in these places and situations, and certainly not generating any feeling (among almost anyone) that they are acting outside of any ethical boundaries. Lately, scheduled Hillmoor meetings, public forums, and agenda items, have appeared, disappeared and then later reappeared in later forms without explanation.  The Riviera roof, interior refit, and general redevelopment have suffered a similar administrative fate, while the Yerkes simply sits there. The Yerkes family contract to take the building and scopes back if the place truly closed seeming more like a chain around the University of Chicago’s neck, than a motivation to take action and do something with a facility that is simply too historic and grand to destroy, or let die from inattention.

Out in the pure waters of Geneva Lake itself, the infestation of the Starry Stonewort has been treated like global warming is on a national level.  It’s there when measured but then treated like it’s not there when any solution to doing anything about its deadly potential down the road might require making decisions and spending money to go at it now.  Somehow, all these amazingly coincidental issues, properties, and facilities are linked, when it comes to doing anything other than talking. Endless talking goes on night after night, at the well-attended council, board and committee meetings, not only held all the time in Lake Geneva but at town boards around the lake.

Stefanie Klett came into the area and was given the reins to Visit Lake Geneva, reviving the old Lake Geneva Chamber of Commerce like a paramedic doing a masterfully executed patient resuscitation.  The Business Improvement District for downtown Lake Geneva has risen to become a steady rational voice, centered down in the middle of other civic and governmental organizations stuck in the social ooze of complacent attendance and satisfaction in doing little or nothing about anything when it comes to taking action, as opposed to talking about taking action.  The Ice Castle, with all its controversial winter largeness, went to Geneva National, although how that closely guarded and gated community expects to handle the many thousands of visitors likely to attend this winter circus and keep its identity, is anybody’s guess.  Are some of these strange phenomena of complacency exhibited by all these entities the fault of the Geneva Shore Report, and other media, for becoming ever more strident in pointing at each and every issue, along with sending reporters to attend all the heretofore quiet and almost unnoticed meetings held to solve these problems?

The staff of the GSR, in a search for answers to this vexing and potentially very damaging phenomena, certainly hopes and prays not.

Cartoon Of The Week
Cartoon by Terry O'neill

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