Lakeside Park Master Plan “Take 5” With Friends Of Lakeside Park

The Lakeside Park Alternative Master Plan continues to move forward, and those in support of and against the plan continue to passionately discuss the plan, KFIZ News thought it was a great time to look at where we are, and what can be done moving forward to begin to bridge the divide between the two groups. We’ve already heard from City Manager Joe Moore, and today we publish the answers from the Friends of Lakeside Park leadership team, consisting of John Pappenheim, Amy Schingen and Jane Puddy Ricchio.

1.) Now that the lawsuit has been dismissed, what are the most pressing “next steps” from your standpoint?

Keep the pressure on the current city council to do the right thing and back out of the agreement or extend the time. There were many key questions unanswered in the information meetings and it is unconscionable to carry through with so much information lacking.  

2.) Looking back on the past year, what things would you have changed? What would you have done differently relative to how the whole process has played out?

Start the movement much earlier in the process. If Friends of Lakeside Park had existed in November 2019, things would not have been able to progress as they did. That is why the Friends have no intention of backing away and will continue to be the watchdog that Lakeside Parks needs. We are in this for the long haul, no matter what happens on the Lighthouse Peninsula.

3.) There still appears to be a high level of information that has been either not understood properly, or has not been presented clearly. What would you like the residents of Fond du Lac to understand better/more clearer?

First, it was not our responsibility to communicate their plan to the citizens.  A couple of informational meetings in January 2020 was not nearly adequate to reach the 40,000 plus citizens in our community.   It’s unfortunate we had to take on this responsibility for relaying what information we had through social media.    We believe we have been accurate in all the information we have provided. The accusations of misinformation are designed to discredit our group and have no basis. What is not being understood is only due to a lack of information released by Lakeside Forward. At this late hour we still do not know vitally important details about the plan. It is important for residents to understand our group is pro-progress. Our leadership group have proven track records that have moved FDL forward both economically and culturally.  Many cities are reclaiming their parkland. We see large commercial buildings in precious, healthy, valuable open park space as mid 20th century thinking and is definitely not the way forward for FDL.

4.) The lawsuit dismissal would appear to set the table for future development within Lakeside Park. What could be done or what should be done, down the road, so as to avoid challenges like lawsuits happening?

What can be done to ensure both sides of a development are working side by side, to avoid another situation like this from happening? As we said, Friends of Lakeside Park is not going anywhere. We have been willing to work with the developers since Day 1.  It is our hope a cooperative effort is in our future. We will be vigilant in seeing to it the park is used only for its intended purposes and allowing the citizens the final word on what happens with their property.

5.) What’s the most important thing you want people to know about the Park Project? 

If this truly was a donation, why such a complicated agreement?  Why are they going to own the property at all, for any length of time?  This ownership gives them access and control of everything. The park belongs to the community. With that ownership comes responsibility. Pay attention to things like Park Board, Planning Commission and City Council.  When oversight  of citizens is lost, things like this happen. Stay informed and watch carefully.