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January 29, 2013 | 03:54 PMThe Genoa City Lions Club tradition will continue.
On Monday, the Lake Geneva City Council unanimously granted the club permission to rent a parking stall at the corner of Main and Broad streets for its annual motorcycle raffle.
For 36 days, from April 6 to July 28, the club will park a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and trailer at that corner and sell raffle tickets as part of its largest annual fundraiser.
The club will use the stall from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
The motorcycle raffle and the rented Lake Geneva parking spot is a longtime ritual for the Genoa City Lions, going back at least 17 years.
The Lions' website says this is the 19th annual Harley raffle.
The club will pay for the privilege of parking.
In the past, a club member would be stationed with the motorcycle with the dual duty of selling raffle tickets and plugging quarters into the old parking meters, said Bill Thornburgh, Genoa City Lions treasurer.
If the attending Lion got distracted or lost track of time, the trailer and motorcycle were ticketed like any other over-parked vehicle. And the Lions paid the parking fine, "gladly," Thornburgh said.
With the arrival of Lake Geneva's new parking kiosks, the club offered to pay for parking up front.
Last year, the club paid $274.
This year, the club plans to use the stalls on 36 days between April 6 and July 28. They will pay a rent of $360.
Alderwoman Sarah Hill proposed waiving the fee, but a majority of council members decided to accept the offer.
Why the Genoa City Lions? And why a parking stall in downtown Lake Geneva at its busiest corner?
The council started grappling with them last year and again last meeting.
Thornburgh answered those questions for the council during public comment.
"There is more foot traffic on that corner than at any other corner in Walworth County," he told the council.
He said the argument that the Genoa City Lions are not "from here" is the most disturbing to him.
"I don't live in your city, but I'm here," he said. He said he and his wife are graduates of Badger High School and their children are students there now. He said he also shops and does business in Lake Geneva.
He said the Lions don't park their Harley in downtown Genoa City, because, quite frankly, there is no downtown Genoa City.
"If you've been to Genoa City, there's nothing in Genoa City," Thornburgh said.
The Genoa City Lions also came with some local support.
Former aldermen Richard Peterson, Terry O'Neill and Sturges Taggert all spoke in favor of allowing the Lions to continue their parking tradition in the downtown.
Taggert said the two communities are "tied to each other by the hip." He said the Genoa City Lions pays for disadvantaged children to attend summer camp and provide eye glasses for children attending the Lake Geneva and Genoa City elementary schools.
"Their people have done good work for 17 years," Taggert said.