|Etten (click for larger version)|
January 21, 2014 | 12:52 PMDear Mayor Connors and council members,
The Lake Geneva Historic Preservation Commission wishes to go on record as being adamantly opposed to the city of Lake Geneva’s recent proposal to purchase four homes on the north side of the 800 block of Wisconsin Street, demolish the homes and build a parking structure on the site.
First, the four homes are contributing structures within the Maple Park National and State Historic District that was officially established on June 17, 2005. One of the houses in particular (817 Wisconsin St.) is acknowledged as being a historically significant 19th century architectural gem. To demolish these houses would constitute an egregious assault on Lake Geneva’s historic homes.
Secondly, there are a number of other more suitable sites upon which to build a parking structure. The firm that analyzed Lake Geneva’s parking needs recommended that the city build a parking structure on the present surface parking lot immediately west of the Geneva Theater. A parking structure in that location would be much closer to the city’s downtown businesses and the lakefront than the proposed site in the 800 block of Wisconsin Street and property is already owned by the city.
In addition, it would be only one block from Central-Denison School and could therefore provide parking space for the teachers. Another suitable site for a parking structure would be the present surface parking lot immediately south of Eastview School. The city and/or the school district own the land and would not have to purchase any houses or property as it would have to do with the 800 Wisconsin St. site.
One of the great attractions of Lake Geneva is that it is an historic city. The Maple Park National and State Historic District encompasses a wealth of architecturally significant homes and architectural styles that are emblematic of Lake Geneva’s 19th century history and development.
To diminish the historic significance of the Maple Park National and State Historic District by demolishing four houses in that district to build a parking structure would be a historical and architectural travesty of the first magnitude.
Accordingly, the Lake Geneva Historic Preservation Commission respectfully requests that the city of Lake Geneva remove the option of demolishing four historic homes in the 800 block of Wisconsin Street from consideration as a potential site of a new municipal parking structure.
Thank you for your consideration.
Kenneth L. Etten, AIA,
chairman Lake Geneva
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