Debate over plan to create park along lakefront in Muskego

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MUSKEGO -- Controversy is brewing in Muskego over plans to spend millions of dollars to build a park along Little Muskego Lake. The mayor calls this a rare opportunity for the city to grab prime real estate, while one group says it may be a foolish purchase. Those opposed to the plan picketed in front of the mayor and other aldermen's homes in protest of the park.

On Tuesday, the Muskego City Council will vote on a plan to buy land along Little Muskego Lake, and bulldoze water front mansions to build a park.

Outside of the mayor's home on Sunday, a group of about 50 opposed to the project picketed. Before the city spends over $3.5 million to purchase the land, the group says it wants more information. After circling outside the mayor's home, they moved on to Alderman Keith Werner's house - one of five stops for the day. "They haven't explained to us when they purchase the homes, where is the money coming from, and how are they going to maintain the park they are proposing?" one individual in opposition to the park project said.

Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti says there is no plan, because they haven't bought the land yet, and if they do, it will be the public who then decides what will happen with the property. "We don't get into the plan, we involve the public in the process. That is how we have done all of our parks. The people will be involved every step of the way. There will be community-wide surveys and public information meetings," Chiaverotti said.

Chiaverotti explains that it was the landowners who approached the city to sell their homes, and the city has been waiting for an opportunity to acquire prime lakefront real estate for everyone to enjoy.

Picketers say it is foolish to spend the money without knowing if they can even afford to maintain the property. They feel the deal is simply making the homeowners easy money, while the city says it's a sale they cannot afford to pass up.

The park plan was brought to the city council a year and a half ago, but there was so much oposition, the city dropped the issue.  Mayor Chiaverotti says the difference now is that the old plan was much larger in both size and cost.

The Muskego City Council will vote Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at the Muskego Lakes Country Club. That meeting is open to the public.

For additional details, check out the Lake Property Acquisition for Park Purposes page at the City of Muskego's website by clicking here.