Each new city council, by its very make up, has an agenda. Previous city councils were dominated and controlled by businessmen. Their primary efforts were aimed at improving the downtown business district, as can be seen by reviewing their list of projects (repaving downtown streets and alleys, adding decorative street lighting, burying power lines, rebuilding both bridges, repair of the Riviera, new stop stoplights, etc.).   And of course to get these projects, they needed the support of other groups such as the park and recreation people whom they sold with a gazebo, two rebuilt tennis courts, a skateboard park, Frisbee golf, a dog park and the White River Trail.  To get city employee support behind them they needed to borrow money to spend on capital equipment for the

White River State Trail

White River Trail Photo Courtesy of Marianne Hurlburt

Police, Fire and Street Departments, and they also needed to grease the administration with an improved revenue source (the new parking system).  It would have included a new parking garage if that project had not been defeated by a citizen vote.

 So, what can we expect from our new city council? The new majority on the city council is made up of men from fields that are pro-development (banking, construction & real estate). The large developments proposed for the Hummel property, Hillmoor golf course and the old racetrack land will bear close watching. Additional spending to improve and upgrade the sewer and water facilities is also to be expected. It will be sold to the public as needed for current usage but will most probably be used to facilitate the future increased usage by these new (but as yet to be revealed) developments projects.  To help accomplish new objectives expect the city council, backed by the city’s administration, to push for the road through Big Foot Park in order to help facilitate the development of the Hummel property. There also may very likely be movement to change the Comprehensive Plan and zoning modifications to enable the Hillmoor property to be developed. The development plan for the racetrack area was previously extended for 5 years so it is already in place.  Development is not a bad thing but the citizens of Lake Geneva must be constantly on guard to be certain that they are fully involved in the kind of development being allowed.

Earlier improvements to the downtown area drove up property values that had a secondary effect of increasing rents, however, there was no corresponding increase in profits for the business.  Some of Lake Geneva’s businesses are going out of business and leaving empty store spaces behind. Unless these spaces can be filled with higher profit quality merchandise stores, property values will again drop.  This “new” city council may be preoccupied with development, and therefore might neglect the downtown area, which may cause a decline in values.

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