Beaver Dam Common Council to decide on Skunk Island $1 purchase

February 21, 2019
Skunk Island is seen from a pontoon boat on a cloudy day. A lawyer has recommended that the Beaver Dam Lake Development Corporation sell most of the island to the city of Beaver Dam.

The Beaver Dam Common Council will consider buying Skunk Island for $1.

On Monday, the council’s Administrative Committee moved the proposal to the full council with a neutral recommendation. The idea already went through the Operations Committee.

The Administrative Committee at first seemed hesitant to move the idea forward. The Beaver Dam Lake Development Corporation, the board that owns the island, is offering the island to the city for $1 as it works out the island’s future. Beaver Dam Mayor Becky Glewen appoints the Lake Development Corporation’s board members.

However, at the meeting, council member Robert Ballweg suggested moving it forward with a neutral recommendation. He sits on the Operations Committee and said that would be best for discussion by the full council.

The island has been closed to public access for years after a dispute over duck hunting and concerns over liability if someone got hurt and filed a lawsuit. The city would have greater immunity from lawsuits than the corporation does.

John Moser, chairman of the lake group, said that he would like the board to still have control over its equipment on the island if the sale went through, perhaps with an easement. The corporation funds the use of aeration equipment in the winter that keeps oxygen flowing through the lake so fish don’t die.

Some officials have expressed concerns over the maintenance and policing of the island if it were open to more use. The Beaver Dam Fire Department and the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office would be responsible for any calls to the island. Both have boats that are used on Beaver Dam Lake.

Glewen said the plan would be to find a group that would be willing to care for the island and to not annex the island if the city owned it.