As a Community, everyone around the lake has come to love the Geneva Inn, not just for the great Grandview Restaurant and the boutique hotel itself, but also for the wonderful people who work, there proudly serving the Lake Geneva community with kindness, appreciation and respect. Unfortunately, the working staff of the Geneva Inn aren’t the owners, and it’s the owner’s who are planning to exploit the inn’s wonderful reputation and community good will in order to expand their operation into the adjoining residential neighborhood with a some sort of commercial banquet hall addition to the Geneva Inn complex. Apparently the owners are advocates of the “if at first you don’t succeed, then try, try again,” adage.
This new attempt at expansion will be the Geneva Inn’s second attempt to rezone neighboring residential property for commercial purposes. To make it even worse the neighboring homes to be demolished for the Inn-addition are lakeshore properties. The first attempt at rezoning residential properties by the Geneva Inn was back in January of 2004. Coming together to met the challenge was the amazing Grace Hanny and over four hundred of her closest friends who wrote letters and signed petitions to persuade the then owner, Clarence Schawk, that the Lake Geneva Community was adamant in not wanting any lakeshore residential property rezoned for any type of commercial function.
Wisely, Schawk listened to Grace and the will of the Community and withdrew his commercial rezone and banquet hall proposal. Then in 2007, when Clarence Schawk needed support to stop the Mirbeau/Hummel Development from coming into the area that would seriously harm the business interests of the Geneva Inn, it was Grace Hanny who stepped up to organize the opposition to the Hummel Development and to the large Mirbeau Hotel Restaurant and Spa planned for construction across the street from the Geneva Inn. Grace’s efforts led to the City of Lake Geneva’s referendum that opposed the Mirbeau/Hummel Development by 77% and to a unanimous rejection by the Lake Geneva City Council.
Grace Hanny went on to be one of the leaders of the Care For Lake Geneva group that has fought against the Big Foot Beach State Park’s plans to commercialize the Geneva Lake Front with a boat launch and a huge parking complex, plus destroying the park’s wetlands, trees, and lagoon and then the most loathsome of all, polluting the lake.
Regrettably, Amazing Grace recently sustained an eye malady and is unable to maintain her activism. Otherwise, she would be out encouraging everyone to preserve and protect the lakefront and fight against this second effort by the Geneva Inn to tarnish and despoil the lakefront with more commercial business. Grace would always point to the fact that the lakefront was the key asset that makes Geneva Lake the terrific, beautiful and unique tourist destination it is. A world class reputation that has been hard earned by decades of guardianship by township planning commissions, town boards and county zoning officials has risen up to protect the Lake Geneva lakeshore from commercialization and exploitation. The Geneva Inn is planning to challenge this historic tradition and put to the test the almost sacred zoning laws that have given us the crown jewel of American Lakes.