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Lawyer recommends lake corporation sell Skunk Island to Beaver Dam

August 4, 2018

Skunk Island is seen from a pontoon boat on a cloudy day. A lawyer has recommended that the Lake Development Corporation sell most of the island to the city of Beaver Dam.

The city of Beaver Dam could have a new island on its hands.

Phil Addis, a land use attorney, has recommended to the board in charge of Skunk Island, a small land mass off the shore near Edgewater Park, that it sell most of the island to the city. The nonprofit Lake Development Corporation, whose members are appointed by Mayor Becky Glewen, currently manages the island.

“He basically recommended that we sell the portion of the island to the city that’s not used for aeration and then retain that part,” said John Moser, the chairman of the board. One of the corporation’s main responsibilities is to fund the use of aeration equipment that keeps the oxygen flowing in the water during winter months to reduce fish kill.

The board will further discuss the idea at a meeting later this month after spending much of the year trying to figure out what, if anything, to do with the island. Glewen reappointed the board with only two of its original members this year, bringing to a halt years-long drama over whether duck hunters could have access to the island.

Moser said one of the reasons for the lawyer’s recommendation is that the city would have stronger recreational immunity from potential legal issues than the board would.

Alternative ideas include removing the island’s no trespassing signs and leaving it as is or purchasing more expensive liability insurance for the board.

“No decisions have been made. We hope to discuss and possibly arrive at a recommendation from the board as to what to do at our next meeting,” Moser said. “I’ve been trying through the process to keep everyone’s minds open to all the alternatives.”

Skunk Island is small but seems larger on foot than from a distance. The northern part of the island is more grown over. 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.

There is nowhere to park a boat on the island’s shore.

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