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Oconomowoc preps for green space, restaurant refuses to sell

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OCONOMOWOC (WITI) --The city of Oconomowoc has plans to transform the center of its downtown into a hub for families and gatherings. But a portion of that plan may never be carried out because of a restaurant known for its carryout.

Fong's Garden Chinese Restaurant is located just off the banks of Oconomowoc's Fowler Lake.

For over 15 years, Fong's Garden has operated near Main and Wisconsin, but the city has plans for that to change.

"These negotiations are ongoing," Mayor Jim Daley said.

Daley supports building a green space in the area around where the restaurant sits. Hundreds of dollars are earmarked to prepare the land for the green space, with walkways and spaces for family-oriented activities.

However, those plans assumed the city would carry out an effort to successfully buy Fong's.

"To date, there hasn't been substantial progress," Mayor Daley said.

Selling is not an option.

"The property owner is around double as far as seeing what the value of that land is," Daley said.

Daley says paying that price is too costly for taxpayers.

The garden outside of Fong's Garden is being prepared, and the city says if it cannot buy the building, it will still create the green space with minor adjustments.

In the short term, it appears as though a compromise is unlikely.

The attorney representing the restaurant says they're willing to sell provided they can be relocated within the city.

Contrary to what the mayor said, the attorney says they were told negotiations have been terminated.

The mayor said he is against using imminent domain, and essentially seizing the property at a certain cost.

1 Comment

  • Bill myers

    Good for fong’s! I have never ordered anything from there but the city has no right to run someone out of business by making them change locations. The green space they are talking about will support more of the bar next to it than family’s and maybe Fong’s.

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