“Take 5” Series Kicks Off With City Manager Joe Moore

The Lakeside Park Alternative Master Plan is set to move into the next phase. And while supporters look forward to new additions within the park, and opponents continue to debate the additions, KFIZ News thought it was important to look at how we got to where we did as a city, and just as important, what can we do to move forward, together, as a city. Today we start our “Take 5” series. We reached out key players on all sides of the Lakeside Park project, and asked a series of 5 questions related to Lakeside Park specifically, and the City of Fond du Lac as a whole. We kick off the “Take 5” series with City Manager Joe Moore. (Of note is that these questions were sent out prior to the last City Council Meeting of March 10, 2021.)

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

·         Work will continue to advance the restaurant/mixed use building and the skating rink’s designs, operating plans and other typical pre-construction activities.

·         To remain focused on the City’s near term priorities:

o   Prevention of recurrence and recovery from the pandemic

o   Expanding police and ambulance services

o   Redevelopment of Forest Mall

o   Redevelopment of Shopko

o   Redevelopment of Brooke Street in the vicinity of the former Casket Company

o   Deployment of body worn cameras for all police officers

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?

·         If I were able to do it over, I would have pushed harder and sooner for a local COVID19 testing site.

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?

·         I urge everyone to read the source documents available on the City’s website because whether a person wants to know more about or better understand the plans, contracts or studies, they are available for people to read.  The City will continue to provide source documents for all things related to the scopes of the alternative master plan and the Lakeside Park Enhancement Agreement.

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 down the road? What can be done to ensure both sides of a development are working side by side, to avoid another situation like this from happening?

·         Although it’s been almost 39 years since the last major conflict about Lakeside Park, that debate and this one share the same themes, a disagreement about what defines an improvement to the Park and whether improvements should focus on amenities for local residents or attractions that draw people from throughout the region.  So, discussions about the vision for Lakeside Park will be important in the future.  Here are some headlines illustrating this longstanding debate found in the local newspaper even further back, these from almost 50 years ago, which might look familiar to people.  In October 1973 a headline read, “Hotel-Marina Plan at Lakefront to Be Presented Council $9.5 Million Complex Proposed.”  Then two months later in December we find this headline, “Lakefront development opposed.”

·         History indicates that proposals for change to Lakeside Park will almost always generate community-wide interest and varying levels of disagreement.  It is important to understand that and to work through those differences. For example, the City first discussed construction of a new pavilion in 1968 yet not until 1975 after much controversy was it completed.

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

·         The history of Lakeside Park reveals how it was shaped by great and humble ideas, small and large gifts, people whose visions for the park were in conflict and too many changes to count.  Yet, the magnificence of the park not only endured, it expanded, although not without occasional disagreements and reconsiderations.