The big issue to face the Lake Geneva City Council that has been overlooked by everyone’s concern over the rerouting of Highway H through Big Foot State Beach Park. This issue is the future of the old Hillmoor Golf Course. Apparently there is an offer to purchase the land for development; however, that offer appears to be subject to the city amending the Lake Geneva Comprehensive Plan and changing the property’s zoning. The Lake Geneva Comprehensive Plan lists Hillmore as “Private Recreation,” and all previously approved development plans for that land have expired. This means that the land, as it stands, has very limited value. That is unless the city changes the zoning for this property.
Lake Geneva could acquire the land using the public purposes clause of the eminent domain law and purchase it at its current fair market value, which because of its current zoning is quite reasonable. There’s nothing more important Lake Geneva’s City Council can do that might benefit the future of the City of Lake Geneva more than to purchase back the Hillmoor property. The property fits the definition of a blighted area and it is within a half mile of TID #4, so perhaps TIF money could be used or the city could borrow to purchase the land. There will never again be another large undeveloped area near the city’s downtown. It can be argued about what the city can or should do with the land once the city acquires it, but unless the city acquires the land now that opportunity will be gone forever. Acquiring this land should be the top priority of the new city council.
This kind of wise decision-making does not appear to be the intent of the city’s current administration or the Planning Commission. Both entities are heavily pro-development, especially when it comes to certain selected developments. Watch now for an attempt to amend the City’s Comprehensive Plan and for zoning changes with respect to the Hillmoor property.
Who is behind the development and who will financially benefit from the sale and development of the Hillmoor property? The realtor selling the property, those who purchase the land, the developers, those who will be involved with or benefit from the construction and those concerned with increasing city tax revenues are the player in this hushed up game. There’s a lot at stake for the future of the city.
The rooster of Grant Street. There are patterns in everything that we say or do. But most people do not see these patterns even when they are pointed out. Lake Geneva is a Bird City and has even put up a sign to declare that Lake Geneva is a Bird City. But when a particular free roaming bird came to roust in district four along Grant Street, the city authorities went after him stating that he is not permitted to live in this town. He has been forced to leave and has been banned from living, staying or even visiting Lake Geneva. He is forced to go to a friendly town like Delavan where he is welcome to stay. His twofold crime bothers me because it also fits most human beings. “He was not afraid to make his voice heard and he was not one of the approved or protected groups”.
How reminiscent of the past this incident is of when Polish, Greeks, Jews, Irish, Italians, African Americans, Mexicans, women, foreigners, rich and poor, etc. were considered different or inferior and were restricted from living in certain places or holding certain positions and now in more subtle ways the same prejudice still lingers. In the last analysis, the rooster’s a chicken. If push comes to shove, and things really heat up, he can be served up roasted, deep-fried or under some Italian sauce. Incidentally, the bird is now living with Lake Geneva’s lovely (and diligently fair) code enforcement officer and it is rumored that he leads a flock of young hens all about his new back yard harem (pen).