Beaver Dam Mulling Conversion Of Skunk Island To Conservancy District

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council Monday night sent the question of purchasing Skunk Island back to the committee-level. The Beaver Dam Lake Development Corporation is offering the one-and-a-half-acre island, that is closed to the public, to the city for one dollar. The Development Corp, which is a city entity, has indicated that they want the island to stay within the public sector. Recent calls to open to the island for public use would result in costly liability insurance for the lake group; the city by contrast has what is called “recreational immunity.”

Council President Robert Ballweg made the motion to send the matter back to committee because of a new idea he brought forward, turning the island into a conservancy district. That way, he says, it would remain a natural area as opposed to a potential city park and the additional dollars that would be needed. The committee will explore what it means for the city to establish a conservancy district along with what would and would not be allowed, like hunting and general public access.

Development Corp Board President John Moser says he is happy to see the city is considering the purchase. The group had hoped to get an answer from the city by next month but, with Monday night’s action, Moser says he will ask the board if they could delay a decision on the sale until city officials have a better understanding of what a conservancy district would mean for the island.