A letter sent to the DNR and Linn Township Board of Supervisors
by Lake Geneva Resident Neil O. Schische on March 9, 2015:
The proposed development plan for Big Foot Beach State Park, and rerouting of South Lake Shore Drive, has been brought to my attention. I have spent considerable time in the park as a youth and still visit Lake Geneva yearly. My father was raised in Lake Geneva, and my grandparents and great grandparents were from Lake Geneva going back well into the 1800’s.
Big Foot Beach State Park is a small State Park that has provided limited, but important, natural area and outdoor recreational opportunities. The Wisconsin DNR has done an excellent job of managing the park over the years. However, the proposed development plan adding 240 paved parking stalls and 30 paved trailer stalls, with accompanying infrastructure; and more importantly the rerouting of South Lake Shore Drive through the Park, will result in significant adverse impacts to the character of the small park, the environment, and the natural landscape of Lake Geneva. It is my belief that this level of development is not consistent with the original Charter of the Park and the values associated with this small State Park.
Impacts to the Park include, but are not limit to, the following:
- Fragmentation of the Park and Natural Area/Wildlife Habitat.
- Loss of Old Growth Forest and native vegetation.
- Loss of part of the self guided nature trail.
- Adverse impact to the largest block of natural area in the Park.
- Loss of Wildlife Habitat and increased mortality to wildlife from the proposed road and development.
- Adverse impact to the natural area experience associated with the Park.
- Water quality and drainage/infiltration issues to the lagoon and lake from the proposed development and road.
- Significant increase in traffic and human activity in the area.
I’m a retired Federal Forest Manager with 31 years with the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service in the western U.S. with management and planning responsibility for Federal Forests, Wilderness Areas, and Important Recreation Areas/Sites and other land management activities. Moreover, I have a degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and Post Education in Forest Economics and Finance from the University of Montana.
The City of Lake Geneva made a $980,000 debt payment.
The city has a total debt of about 7.5 million dollars. There are three different loans that make up that total. The debts were created by borrowing money to pay for capital projects. A debt service tax levy is added to the city’s portion of the property tax collections. Currently that debt service tax levy is right at $1,037,064 a year and all of it must be used to pay down the principle and interest for scheduled payments. The $980,000.00 is short of that but another payment is going to be made. This would be a “ho hum” kind of a thing except when a person of intellect might stop to consider that there’s more than seven and a half million dollars laying there in the unspent TIF#4 account. TIF#4 couldn’t possibly be used to pay debt. Oh no, it can only be used for things like building parking garages and rerouting roads. There is something very wrong with how the City of Lake Geneva structures and handles its (and everyone’s) finances.