Lakeside Park Alternative Master Plan Still Up In The Air

It’s been almost a year since the first drawings of the proposed Lakeside Park Master Plan were presented to both City of Fond du Lac councilmembers as well as the general public. At the time, it was thought the remodel of the current Pavilion would be close to being completed, and that work on the rest of the projects within the park would have been started. It’s apparent that, after the council meeting Wednesday night, the project is poised to move full steam ahead, or be derailed. And it could all happen in the next few weeks.

For those businesses and individuals in support of the Alternative Lakeside Park Master Plan, who make up the Lakeside Forward group, the next few Council meetings will be used by the newly-created Management Team to present the proposed plans for ownership structure of the multi-use building that would also house a restaurant. Those meetings will also spell out in greater detail the lease and overall operations of the proposed building.

For those who have been against the project, and more specifically the location of the multi-use building, there appears to be only one option left to bring the project to a halt, and that would be with a ruling in their favor at the injunction hearing set for March 5. The overall tone of the evening was similar to the past 12 months, with a number of residents speaking out both in person and via the phone, against the project. But unlike other Council meetings, there was no one who stepped to the microphone or spoke over the phone in support of the plan.

Alicia Hans was the first councilmember to speak, and said she’s baffled that, after almost 7 years of surveys, committees and discussion, there hasn’t been any real movement forward. Hans said it’s obvious that the businesses that have stepped forward and have brought financial backing to the table, are doing so to make Fond du Lac, overall, more attractive to the employees companies are looking to retain and attract. Hans said “the time to move forward is now. Dozens of businesses support this.”  

Councilmember Kay Miller countered by saying “major decisions need to be made, and we are running out of time. And unfortunately we still don’t have all the information that is needed to make those decisions.” Miller also reminded everyone that the Developers Agreement that was agreed to back on September 30 was approved by six councilmembers, and does not allow for any room to negotiate. “The developers agreement did not follow due process. This project has not followed normal protocol. And I’m not sure we want to move forward with a project of this size when we have litigation hanging over our heads.”

Which leads to the question of “what’s next?” City Manager Joe Moore informed Council that a large portion of the missing details will be brought forth at the February 22 Advisory Park Board meeting, with Council set to receive an update at the February 24 meeting. Mr. Moore also informed Council that two public input meetings could ideally be scheduled before the end of the month. Moore also reminded Council that the 120 day review deadline date is March 11. What happens between now and then is anybody’s guess.