2-13-20 fdl city council gives green light to alternate lakeside park plan

A business group’s plan to develop a portion of Fond du Lac’s Lakeside Park has been given the green light by the Fond du Lac city council.  The council voted Wednesday  night to postpone replacing the existing park pavilion project with councilmembers Merkel and Miller voting against.  The council also voted in favor of resolutions authorizing a feasibility study of the alternate plan and the general concepts of the plan.  Those concepts include renovating the existing pavilion and constructing an amphitheater, ice rink and parking lot on Oven Island and restaurant and history museum on the lighthouse peninsula.  Before the votes, several residents in the audience spoke mostly in favor of the alternate plan.  Excel  Engineering’s Tom Schermerhorn  is a spokesperson for the business group.  “I think it’s a great opportunity for the city of Fond du Lac,”  Schermerhorn told WFDL news.  Councilmember Karen Merkel supported the original plan to replace the existing pavilion with an expanded facility and says she is disappointed.  “I think we had a good multi-purpose building that was going to very functional and very good for the city and I’m disappointed that the city council decided not to go forward with that,”  Merkel said.   Merkel says she is most disappointed that the business group refused to compromise.  “A couple (council) members went to the group and asked for a compromise and and there was no compromise.  Either we refurbish the old pavilion or the money goes away.”   Schermerhorn says the group is pledging $4.6 million toward the project and wanted to stay as close as possible to the alternative plan that was being proposed.  “We talked about some things that we could compromise on and we did make some compromises.  I’m sure the plan in the end will have some compromises between all parties to best suit all the needs,”  Schermerhorn said.  Councilmember Ben  Giles says the council sent a message to the private sector that the city is  “thankful and ready to work with them.”