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Beaver Dam Lake Corporation votes to offer Skunk Island to city for $1

September 19, 2018

Skunk Island is seen from a pontoon boat on a cloudy day.

Skunk Island could end up fully in the hands of the city of Beaver Dam.

John Moser, chairman of the Beaver Dam Lake Development Corporation, confirmed that the nonprofit unanimously voted in August, with one person absent, to offer to island to the city for $1. The nonprofit’s members are appointed by Mayor Becky Glewen.

There was no public notice posted of the August meeting, unlike previous meetings held by the group.

An attorney had previously recommended that the nonprofit sell the island to the city, with one major reason being that the city would have stronger immunity from potential legal issues.

The board will next meet in November. Glewen has said that she would like to have information presented to the Common Council about the next steps for the island, which is off the shore of Beaver Dam Lake near Edgewater Park.

City Attorney Maryann Schacht, who cannot represent the nonprofit board but has participated in its meetings on behalf of the city, said there is a lot going on in her work for the city.

“My plate is so full right now, it’s dripping over. I’m not going to even talk to the city about Skunk Island until there’s more discussion,” she said. “We should be able to get it ironed out.”

Skunk Island is small, but seems larger on foot than it does from a boat. There is a small fire site, a few rotting picnic tables pushed together and a wooden shed that has been used to store aeration equipment. The northern area of the island is more grown over and there is nowhere to park a boat on the island’s shore.

There had been years-long drama between the nonprofit and those who wanted to access the island over who, if anyone, would be able to use it for duck hunting. There are “no trespassing” signs up at the moment. After she became mayor, Glewen reappointed the board of the Lake Development Corporation with only two of its previous members included and gave it a mandate to help figure out what to do with it.

The island’s future use remains unclear. One possibility could be opening it up to youth hunts.

Aside from the island, another one of the nonprofit’s responsibilities is to work with the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association to ensure the water stays oxygenated with aeration equipment in the winter to stave off fish kill. Skunk Island had been a base for aeration operations over the years.

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