Opinion

Letter to the Editor: NO SMALL TASK, YET CONFUSION PERSISTS

NO SMALL TASK, YET CONFUSION PERSISTS
 
As Sturgeon Bay is about to welcome a newly elected group of supervisors and a new mayor, this faction of professed fiscal and civility reformers will be presented with pressing unfinished city business needing immediate attention.  Legal “house-keeping,” chores on the west waterfront, such as ordering the city administrator to finally submit the requisite applications for submerged land leases from the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands is the top priority.  A proposed “lighthouse tower” and a common council approved, state historic designated landmark both await action.
 
Equally required for both the Teweles and Brandeis restoration and for the improperly land titled, Door County Maritime Museum (DCMM), city voters should be reassured that David Ward as mayor will apply the same strict standards of legal accountability and donor proven adequate future maintenance endowment funding guarantees, surrealistic performance bonding and other assurances from the DCMM that he is demanding of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society (SBHS) for the grain elevator project, both of which  will eventually be sited on state owned filled lakebed, publicly entrusted to city oversight.  
 
Unfortunately, confusion exists and currently neither new tax incremental commercial development nor two notable public interest non-profit projects can easily proceed because of the outgoing mayor’s inexcusable failure to have secured the required, non-contested WI DNR issued OHWM demarcations, and the subsequent submerged lakebed land leases for portions of the west waterfront.  
 
In late March, the DCMM Deputy Director claimed the DCMM was working with the city to secure the required submerged land leases.  An open record request of the city shows no such endeavors occurred within the last 15 months beyond a single email exchange between the city and the DCMM.  A subsequent email reply from the Green Bay office of the WI DNR stated that neither the city nor the DCMM has made the necessary applications for needed submerged land leases.
 
Not wishing to doubt anyone’s statement made on local radio, have unrecorded and clandestine talks occurred between the city and personally self-interested parties seeking to “resolve,” city public land issues?  Further throwing confusion on this matter is a former WRA member and current DCMM Board of Directors member being one of 22 people, party to an appeal of the Jan 3, 2019, DNR OHWM designation, the granary lot, which seems truly counterproductive to time sensitive adjacent DCMM project goals.
 
In the public interest, wouldn’t a clarifying public statement from the DCMM, the city administrator and the outgoing mayor need to be heard?  Perhaps the public should be calling on the County DA or the WI DOJ for answers?  Disinformation from David Ward’s campaign blaming likely future hold-ups to ALL progress on the west waterfront on the SBHS, these predictions are definitively NOT attributable to the SBHS or their historic landmark preservation efforts.  Mayor-elect Ward and the newly elected supervisors will surely be demanding to publicly get to the bottom of this situation, their immediate promised fiduciary responsibly to the voters who elected them.

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