A $70 million relic is about to be given away at City Hall on October 19th. Oblivious to, or unconcerned about, its value to the citizens of the city, the Lake Geneva Mayor and City Council stand ready to allow a special interest from Illinois to make off with one of Lake Geneva’s most precious landmarks: the Hillmoor Golf Course. Worth its weight in gold to the future of the people who live in the city and to the tourists who visit the city, current administration is primed to ignore the people’s long held ambition for the city to purchase this property and instead, allow an out of state developer to bring in bulldozers to destroy forever a treasured asset and landmark that is the gateway to the City of Lake Geneva. A few years ago, faced with the potential to use available funds to purchase Hillmoor for the citizens or build an overpriced parking garage, the City Administration did what it’s been known to do and tried to force the citizens to accept a big useless parking garage. The voters rejected the plans by voting down the Parking Garage Referendum. Quite possibly in a ‘tit for tat’ move for revenge, the administration could very well return the favor by giving away Hillmoor, so that this wonderful property can never become the dream of a city park or return to being a golf course.

Make no mistake, there is a war and sometimes open hostilities, by the administration against the people of Lake Geneva because of the differing philosophies about growth and vision about what the city should be. The people; with, for and versus their elected administrators. This kind of clash isn’t unique to Lake Geneva. It exists in varying degrees nationwide because it’s a by-product of the representative form of government. Unfortunately, the voters and public opinion many times only become relevant at election time. Post election, the people have little active role to play in governing with just one critical exception, the comprehensive planning process.

This is the genius behind Smart Growth Planning.

Smart Growth is an urban planning and transportation theory that concentrates growth in compact walkable urban centers to avoid sprawl.

It is the an opportunity for participatory democracy when the entire community works together, citizens, business leaders and law makers alike. Everyone listens to the planning experts; they study surveys; they envision the needs of future generation, all with the intention of formulating the very best plan possible for improving the welfare of the people and the community. The result is the Comprehensive Plan that then serves as the Constitution for Land Use in the city and the guide for making all zoning decisions. The Hillmoor Golf Course was a critical part of the 2009 Lake Geneva Comprehensive Plan and was specifically designated to be a recreational area. Fate intervened on behalf of the Lake Geneva Community at the time of the housing crisis to save Hillmoor from the developer’s wrecking ball, so everyone involved in the comprehensive planning effort was overjoyed to get Hillmoor back to a recreational listing on the Comprehensive Plan and map where it belongs.

Download City of Lake Geneva Comprehensive Plan

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Once again Hillmoor needs to be saved from the hands of developers interested only in profit. The people want to preserve Hillmoor as a golf course or they want it to be a park, but that can only happen with the cooperation of the planning commission and city council to not change the Comprehensive Plan. Everyone who loves the city can appreciate that Hillmoor is really something very special, not only as the green gateway into the city, but as an oasis of open space with acres of grass and shade trees to serve as an urban sanctuary for the people of Lake Geneva.

The Lake Geneva Comprehensive Plan declared it our future dream space, so let’s keep it that way.

Good Things About Living Here

Dennis Hague author

Dennis Hague, author and extraordinary man. He will be signing his books at the Geneva Java on Saturday morning at 10am. The 17th at the Java.

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