It has been quite a busy year here at Care for Lake Geneva with a lot to celebrate. Thank you for your tireless efforts in ensuring responsible development in our communities. Collectively, you signed hundreds of petitions & letters, flooded our city officials’ inboxes and showed up in force at public meetings to ensure our leaders upheld the values of the Covenant.
Below are three key issues that we successfully faced head on this year to preserve our communities.
Riviera Beach Expansion – On July 17, the Lake Geneva City Council approved this controversial project that would have cost approximately $311,035 and included a 12,400-square-foot expansion of Riviera Beach and a new retaining wall. More than 70 community members signed our petition urging our leaders to design a more responsible plan for Riviera Beach, and several residents attended meetings and contacted city officials with the same message. Hearing public opinion loud and clear, the City Council and Public Works Committee decided to move the beach wall and expansion project back to the Piers and Harbors Committee for further development.
Muck Suck Race – The Lake Geneva City Council voted to allow a high-volume foot race along the narrow Shore Path over Memorial Day weekend. This demonstrated a complete dis-regard for public opinion or property rights. Care for Lake Geneva submitted nearly 50 signed letters to the City Council and collaborated with the race organizers, My Team Triumph, to create a responsible activity over that weekend that protected the Short Path. In the end, My Team Triumph opted to instead hold a celebration in the park on Memorial Day to raise awareness and funds for their cause, which includes providing opportunities for people with diverse abilities to participate in endurance events.
Comprehensive Plan Review – The review of the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Map was a silver tuna issue for our community, made evident by the standing room only crowds at the numerous City Council and Planning Commission meetings addressing this project and countless phone calls/emails city officials received. In addition, nearly 70 community members signed our letter to the City Council and Mayor Kupsik urging them to preserve the greenspace. In the end, the Lake Geneva City Council voted 4-3 to deny the proposed amendment to the City's Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Map that would have allowed commercial development on Hillmoor.
Looking into 2018, the future of Hillmoor is an immediate concern of ours. The City Council’s vote to deny the map change on Hillmoor was a step in the right direction, but our work is far from done. Commercial interest in the property remains strong, and don’t forget that 3 council members voted in favor of commercializing it. On this note, we look forward to working more with the Friends of Hillmoor, a non-profit organization formed this year to ensure responsible development on the property. These folks were a driving force in the recent Comprehensive Plan vote, and they will be a key partner in our mission to preserve Hillmoor.
We thank all of you for your support, and we want to recognize those who made exceptional efforts this year to protect our communities from outside commercial interests. The Care for Lake Geneva team created three awards for this year: 2017 Community Watchdog, Social Media Advocate of the Year and Excellence in Local Government.
2017 Community Watchdog Award
Dick Malmin, a long-time resident of Linn, is an active and engaged advocate for the Geneva Lake community. Dick navigates the smoke and mirrors in City Hall (which is no easy task!) and keeps our leaders in check by dutifully attending meetings, rallying community activity and collaborating with area organizations such as the Geneva Lake Conservancy and Friends of Hillmoor. He regularly alerts our team to any activity in local government that could threaten our communities.
Dick is an invaluable – and voluntary – outreach arm of Care for Lake Geneva, dedicating countless hours to making personal phone calls and emails to community members and leaders to ensure the values of the covenant are always upheld. Thank you, Dick!
Social Media Advocate of the Year
Tracy sent us a Facebook message back in July alerting us to the City Council’s approval of the Riviera Beach Expansion. We promptly did follow-up research and drafted the petition and blog post to share with community members. Thanks to your advocacy – including more than 70 petition signatures – the City Council and Public Works Committee decided to move the project back to the Piers and Harbors Committee for further review. Tracy got the ball rolling by reaching out in a simple Facebook message!
Of course, Tracy is not alone in her efforts. THANK YOU to all who participate on social media by ‘liking’ posts, sending us messages and sharing links to RSVP and Petition pages with your network. If you haven’t already, please join the 2,200 community members and friends who follow the Care for Lake Geneva Facebook or Twitter pages.
Excellence in Local Government
Council Members Elizabeth Chappell; Cindy Flower; Shari Straube; Ken Howell
The Lake Geneva City Council voted 4-3 in November to deny the proposed amendment to the City's Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Map that would have allowed commercial development on Hillmoor. These four council members demonstrated they are listening to our concerns and will consider our collective vision for the property's future. We thank them for ensuring that City Hall did not cater to commercial interests at the sake of perverting that which makes our community so great. Specifically, we thank Aldermen Chappell, Flower, Straube and Howell for listening and setting the bar for responsible development.
We should all be proud of our efforts over the past year, but it is important that we stay engaged and continue to hold our elected officials accountable in the coming year. Through continued public participation in 2018, we can ensure responsible development in our communities that honors our founders’ vision and protect all who call this beautiful place home. That said, all of us at Care for Lake Geneva wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.
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As a member of this community, I support Care for Lake Geneva’s efforts in securing a bright future for Geneva Lake and its surrounding natural habitat. I recognize that we can only achieve this goal through community involvement and education. That is why I am committed to advocating for responsible land development and ensuring our elected officials hear our collective voice. By joining in this organization’s efforts, I will work to ensure this community remains a peaceful and clean habitat to be enjoyed by residents and visitors for generations to come.