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Lakeside Park Masterplan FAQ’s

Lakeside Park Masterplan FAQ’s2021-01-14T15:27:13-06:00

Check out some of our frequently asked questions regarding the Lakeside Park Masterplan. You may provide feedback by visiting

What official action was taken in 1982 regarding commercial development in Lakeside Park (LSP)?2020-07-27T10:52:42-05:00

After a hotel/convention center was proposed on Frazier Point, a sizable number of City residents petitioned for a referendum to oppose it.  The question was whether 22 acres near Frazier Point should be declared as “surplus” and sold for this purpose.  The City Council held the referendum, which showed that voters did not support this development.

Did the 1982 referendum or other City Council action prohibit commercial development in LSP?2020-07-27T10:53:13-05:00

No.  The referendum was not so broad as to prohibit any commercial development in LSP, and several small contracts have been approved in the past four decades which did not preclude making a profit—small commercial ventures like the carousel and Pavilion concessionaire.  On a related note, the City Council in 2014 unanimously indicated that they did not oppose the concept of a commercial entity being allowed to operate in LSP as an outcome of the LPEC’s work, while clarifying that ownership of the park needs to remain with the City.

Who was on the 2014 Lakeside Park Exploratory Committee (LPEC), and what charge were they given?2020-07-27T10:53:52-05:00

City Manager Joe Moore and the Council decided to form a blue ribbon committee to ask the questions, “Can Lakeside Park be better, and if so, how?”  Applications were accepted from citizens, and 17 members were selected.  They met at least monthly for about a year to survey the public, research and discuss various ideas, and eventually make recommendations to the City Council.  Diana Tscheschlok (UW-Extension) facilitated the group.

What was the outcome of the LPEC’s work?2020-07-27T10:54:24-05:00

Months of meetings were held, lots of research completed by these citizen volunteers, and around 3,000 surveys received.  Those results showed a wide variety of perspectives, the LPEC was able to coalesce around 27 recommendations, presented to—and endorsed by—the City Council in June 2015.

What progress was made on the LPEC’s 27 recommendations between 2015 and 2018?2020-07-28T16:15:15-05:00
  1. In 2015, Excel Engineering was selected to develop a LSP master plan based on the LPEC recommendations, and an informal group of City staff, a rep from the LPEC, and a couple of City Council members worked with Excel to put the first draft together.  The group was impressed by Excel’s personal interest in the park and the outcome of the master plan, and loved their initial idea of putting a new multi-purpose building (MPB) due north of N. Main St.  While the master plan included other ideas, the MPB was envisioned as the best way to promote many recommendations of the LPEC in a way that was manageable for current staffing.  To support the MPB, the plan included a possible restaurant, parking lot across the street, amphitheater to the west, and pier/beach in Lake Winnebago.
  2. During the latter half of 2016, the Advisory Park Board was asked for its opinion, and several residents spoke passionately about not losing the views of the lake as you drive north on Main St., and recommended placing the new MPB on the footprint of the current Pavilion (Pav).  The Park Board concurred with this request.  This change meant that adding significant parking would be a challenge, and that an amphitheater couldn’t go next to the MPB as originally planned.  (The Pav site is constrained by the historic Bandstand a short distance to the west.)  Also during these months, other ideas were vetted and modified.  We met with the DNR who had strong objections to placing a permanent pier into the water, and the viability of a beach raised concerns based on Oshkosh’s experience and past experience in FdL.
  3. A key City Council meeting was held on 11/30/16, where all of these considerations were brought for a final decision on the different options.  That night, the Council reached consensus on the following points:
    1. The current Pav site (not N. Main St.) would be the site of the new MPB.
    2. The building would have meeting space for 200 people (not 300).
    3. An enhanced concession area, not a full scale restaurant, was selected.
    4. A balcony with views of the lake was desired.
    5. An amphitheater was still desired, but would likely be in the west part of the park.
    6. If additional parking was needed for the new Pav, it could be built on the other side of the channels from the Pav.
    7. If transient boat docking was desired, a temporary pier (i.e. pulled in each winter) could be placed off Fishermen’s Pier, larger boats parked along the current Fishermen’s Pier wall, and docks for smaller boats placed in the channels across Promen from the Pav. The idea of a temporary pier wasn’t planned to be pursued because it was feared that severe wave action could damage the boats, but the other two ideas remain viable.
  4. In the months following the meeting, staff worked with Excel to modify the plan based on these decisions.  The City Council officially adopted the master plan in April 2017.
  5. The City’s CIP (capital improvement plan) included several components of the master plan, including walking trails, an ice rink (originally viewed to be tied to a rehabbed park shop on N. Main St.), and a splash pad.  Due to its complexity and expense, the MPB was to be completed a few years down the road.
What was the Pavilion plan in 2019?2020-07-27T10:59:47-05:00

In 2018, we started the multi-purpose building (MPB) process by putting out a request for proposals (RFP) for an architecture firm to design the MPB.  Angus Young Architects was selected and they started work, based on the master plan results.  Construction was envisioned for late 2020, to be completed by Walleye Weekend 2021.  The new building would include a large concession area, year-round restrooms, central hallway (open to the public), exhibit area (in lieu of a museum, open to the public), and meeting spaces for 200 people that could be split into rooms of 50, 50 and 100.  In early 2019, AYA’s proposed floor plan was brought to the Park Board (with a public information meeting), and then the City Council.  Several City Council members were underwhelmed and felt that the new building—at an estimated price of $3.5 million—wasn’t enough of an attraction for that price tag.

When/how did the Pavilion plan change?2020-07-27T11:01:11-05:00
  1. Because of City Council concerns that the proposed Pavilion wouldn’t create an attraction, staff brought a fuller picture of the AYA design to the Council after the April election (so ongoing decisions could be made by the Council that would be involved into the future).  While they made a few changes to the design (eliminating a balcony since it wouldn’t be served by an elevator and therefore couldn’t be used by all citizens) and voicing support for solar panels, the Council voted to continue with a new Pavilion in June 2019.
  2. Based on this direction from the Council, AYA continued to work on building design.  However, in October, Council Member Ben Giles again voiced concern that this project wasn’t the right approach, and alluded to a group of business leaders and nonprofits that were talking about ways to have a more elaborate plan—with possible donations to allow it to happen.
  3. In November, the Advisory Park Board sounded relatively open to the new ideas, although they reiterated that they didn’t think the north end of Main St. should be developed.  The City Council heard from many advocates for a “pause” to the Pav design, and voted to give the group until 2/15/20 to provide an alternate for them to consider.  If no official action was taken by the Council by 2/15, the Pav design process would restart automatically.
  4. Throughout this time, staff worked with Noon Rotary to complete a large project for their 100th anniversary, envisioning a plaza on the north side of the new Pav.  They worked closely with AYA’s landscape architect on what the Centennial Plaza would include, and pledged $100k toward that part of the project.  Staff were also working with local artists, the Historical Society, and the DNR to start conversations about rotating displays to go in the display area that would be part of the new Pav.  They also were putting together an Engagement and Enhancement campaign that would have offered local businesses or individual donors a chance to invest in the building, possibly for naming rights of rooms for large donations, or simply putting the name of a loved one on an artistic dedication wall in the main hallway.
How did the Supporters of the LPEC (Supporters’) efforts play out in Jan/Feb 2020?2020-08-28T14:37:57-05:00

The Supporters held a public information meeting in the Pav in late January, and presented Excel Engineering’s renderings at the January Park Board.  They gathered feedback through a dedicated gmail account, in which about 75% of the respondents were in favor of the revised master plan elements.  At the 2/12/20 City Council meeting, a number of resolutions were presented that gave the Council a chance to officially vote on different levels of commitment to the new plan.  The AYA design process for a new Pav was paused indefinitely, the desire for a feasibility study was passed, and the overall new master plan was endorsed.  The Council stopped short of voting on two other resolutions which would have committed City budgets to the project at that time.

Who comprises the Supporters group?2020-07-27T11:04:43-05:00

While this informal group includes many representatives from local businesses and non-profit organizations, the nine businesses that formalized their involvement in the Supporters’ efforts by letter in November 2019 included SSM Health, Badger Liquor, C.D. Smith, Excel Engineering, Grande Cheese, JF Ahern, Mercury Marine, National Exchange Bank and Trust, and Society Insurance.  Since then, Society Insurance has withdrawn from formal involvement with the group, while Holiday Automotive, Integrity Tool & Saw, Mid States Aluminum, and the Noon Rotary Club have joined.

What has the City Council decided about major changes to LSP so far?2020-08-28T14:41:23-05:00

Very little has been determined at this point.  They agreed on 2/12/20 to pursue a rehab project on the current Pav instead of building a new one, and agreed to a feasibility study and the general concepts of the revised Master Plan.  However, none of the sites for other major components of the plan—or funding for them—have been approved.

What are the major components of this new LSP Master Plan (Plan)?2020-07-27T11:05:49-05:00

The master plan calls for three major improvements to LSP, with numerous supporting additions.  First, the Pav would be upgraded with a small addition to the east to house restrooms and a kitchenette for renters of that half of the building, the kitchenette for the west half would be moved to the current stage area, air conditioning would be installed, the concessionaire kitchen would be upgraded, new windows and doors installed, a covered patio area created by the concessionaire window, and a concrete patio added north of the building.  Second, a multipurpose building (MPB) is proposed on Lighthouse Peninsula (LHP) that would house a restaurant, meeting space for 50 people, public restrooms, and exhibit area.  (While the original LPEC recommendation called for a museum, many believe that an exhibit hall, smaller in scope and not requiring a professional curator and staff, would be a better fit for our community at this time.)  Third, an amphitheater—including restrooms, concession area, and ice rink area for the winter—is shown on the west end of Oven Island.  Many smaller projects that would support these facilities and help meet goals of the LPEC include walkways around the perimeter of LHP and the south side of Oven Island, a bike/ped bridge connecting the marina area to Oven Island, extending more boat docks in the marina and the channel west of Oven Island, and adding parking on Oven Island and LHP.

How has this conversation continued between the City Council actions on 2/12/20 and the updates at the end of June, 2020?2020-07-27T11:06:28-05:00

Four times in the intervening months, LSP was on City Council agendas.  Excel Engineering was hired to begin design of a rehabbed Pav (instead of the new one AYA had been working on).  It was clarified that the Council wanted to stick to the scope of a Pav rehab similar to what was shown in February—which would not have an display area added onto the current Pav.  And an idea for a public survey was considered—but not pursued—by the Council.  At the end of June, a comprehensive update was provided to the Council, Park Board and public.  Staff felt that the only way the Council could make a well-informed decision on the many moving parts of this issue would be to present four components at the same time:  1) public comment/Advisory Park Board feedback received over the summer, 2) results from the feasibility study, 3) a draft developers agreement with the entity (tied to the Supporters) that would build and operate the MPB, and 4) the impact on the five-year capital improvement plan from all of these outcomes.  These items are all inter-related, so to ask the Council to act on one of them without having the others would put them in a very tough position.  This game plan was presented to the City Council 6/24/20 (without a lot of controversy) and then at a public information meeting and Park Board 6/29/20.  It was here that the level of opposition to some of the master plan elements became clearer.

According to the late June updates, when will decisions be finalized for work to begin and City funds to be obligated?2020-07-27T11:07:04-05:00

Since no City dollars have been committed to elements of the Plan other than the Pavilion rehab, the City Council can use its discretion to decide what will be pursued.  It is hoped that four elements will be presented to the City Council in October, 2020, to help them make a balanced and wise decision.  These elements include a) the results of a feasibility study, b) the structure and terms of a developers agreement with an entity that would construct and operate the MPB, c) all of the comments received on the Plan, and d) cost estimates for the Plan elements that are being proposed by City staff, the feasibility consultant, and/or the Supporters.

When will the Pavilion (Pav) be done?2020-07-27T11:07:41-05:00

The rehabilitation of the Pav is planned to be bid in August, 2020, with the contractor ready to begin work after Labor Day.  The work is expected to last three to four months, but certainly is expected to be completed by Walleye Weekend 2021.

Who is paying for the Pavilion?2020-07-27T11:08:14-05:00

Since this is a City facility, the rehab project is being done instead of a more expensive City project to replace the building, and much of the vision for what is needed to better serve our renters came from City staff, the rehab is being funded by the City.

What is the scope and status of the feasibility study?2020-07-27T11:08:45-05:00

Johnson Consulting was selected on July 22, 2020, to complete a feasibility study for the MHP and amphitheater portions of the Plan.  Some of their significant duties include market analyses of a restaurant, research into nearby similar facilities, analysis of the sites recommended for the facilities, and cost estimates for the different elements.

Has the City solicited any donations to fund construction of the buildings, bridges, streets and other facilities in the Plan?2020-07-27T11:09:14-05:00


Is the proposed location for the Multipurpose Building (MPB) the only location being considered?2020-07-27T11:09:59-05:00

As noted above, one of the duties of Johnson Consulting is to provide an objective review of the sites recommended by the Plan.  Discussions of other locations for the MPB or other significant Plan elements will follow, based in large part on their recommendations.

How has public comment been solicited during this process?2020-07-27T11:11:49-05:00

All of the LPEC meetings were open to the public, although very few members of the public chose to attend.  All Park Board and City Council meetings are advertised, open to the public, and have minutes posted, and many of these meetings have focused on LSP over the past six years.  The Supporters ran advertisements, held two public information meetings and conducted an on-line survey open to anyone in January, 2020.  In other words, while it’s entirely possible that many people have only recently learned about these plans, it’s not because efforts were not made to try to get the word out.

What are some of the best ways to make sure our voice is heard on LSP?2020-07-27T11:13:11-05:00

While anyone is welcome to call or e-mail City staff or Council members, we encourage people to use to register your opinion.  This will allow all comments to be compiled and presented to the Advisory Park Board and City Council in a balanced and consistent format.  Of course, dialogue over social media is a fact of life in today’s society, but it often does not lead to the fact-based and civil dialogue that will be most helpful when dealing with visible issues that people are passionate about.  The “Outcome” tab on the web page will only be completed at the end of the City Council’s decision-making process (probably in October, 2020), so interested residents are encouraged to refer to this web page periodically to check for updates, especially before or after monthly Park Board meetings.

What role has/will the Advisory Park Board (APB) played in this conversation?2020-07-27T11:14:04-05:00

As an advisory board, the APB’s role in discussions like this is largely guided by requests from the City Council.  Of course, the APB brings a lot of passion and professional expertise to any discussion about our parks, and they have been involved many times over the past six years.  They are provided updates on LPEC issues during many meetings, two members of the original LPEC were asked to join the APB after their good work on the blue ribbon committee was completed, and the APB reviews the City’s annual capital improvement plan to offer feedback on Parks budgets.  The APB has been more directly involved in several steps of this process:  public feedback to them in 2016 led to the decision to not place an MPB north of Main St., they recommended approval of the 2017 master plan, they voted in November 2019 to be open to elements of the new Plan (except, again, north of Main St.), they provided informal feedback to the City Council after the January, 2020, public information meeting, and they heard much public comment (and offered their perspectives) on 6/29/20.  They will meet monthly until October, 2020, and are expected to vote on a recommendation for the City Council before its October, 2020, decision is requested.

Will boat slips be added to accommodate day visitors, or will some boat slip renters be bumped to make room for visitors?2020-07-27T11:14:54-05:00

The Plan calls for the addition of 34 slips in the marina, mostly adding onto current docks.  The goal at this time would be for those slips closest to LHP to be available for day visitors, taking advantage of its proximity to the MPB.  However, if current slip holders don’t want to move, that can certainly be considered as the conversation moves forward.

Will all components of the Plan be paid for by City taxes?2020-07-27T11:15:42-05:00

No.  Approximately $5 million has been pledged by some Supporters.  Preliminarily, it is planned for City funds to rehab the Pav and share some costs for an amphitheater and ancillary projects (walkways, additional docks, bike/ped bridge, etc.).  Donations would be used to construct the MPB, and also to pay a share of the amphitheater and ancillary projects.

What is the DNR’s role in this conversation?2020-07-27T11:16:31-05:00

The DNR would be consulted if docks are extended into the water (i.e. in the marina or channels), and they are likely to approve any plans that don’t include extending a permanent structure into Lake Winnebago itself.  They may also get involved if significant floodplain or stormwater runoff issues are encountered, although these issues are usually managed by local City staff instead.

Couldn’t these features be added to the Saputo property instead?2020-07-27T11:17:36-05:00

The City is planning to demolish the Saputo building in 2021, and this large, well-placed site certainly offers many opportunities to add to LSP and/or to be redeveloped.  Either way, this site will certainly be an enhancement of the entire neighborhood in the years to come.  However, Saputo has not been seriously considered as a location for major elements of the Plan, as proximity to—and visibility of—the lake is considered essential.

What kind of restaurant is being planned?2020-07-27T11:18:08-05:00

While the term “bistro” has been used, there has been no decision made about the scope or style of restaurant proposed.  The feasibility study will be an essential tool in guiding this discussion.

Is the Promen Dr. Bridge being replaced because of the Plan?2020-07-27T11:19:14-05:00

No.  An engineering consultant completed a report in November, 2016, that found several problem areas in the bridge and estimated that—even with repairs—the bridge would only last 15 years.  It is also posted for a 15-ton weight limit, making it inaccessible for larger trucks.  The study recommended a full replacement, and since then the City has worked to get the bridge added to the DOT’s bridge program, meaning that about 60% of the project will be paid for with state and federal dollars.  The fact that this bridge is slated for 2025 replacement has nothing to do with the Supporters’ work or the revised Plan.

What would the parking situation be on the Lighthouse Peninsula (LHP) under the Plan?2020-07-27T11:19:47-05:00

Currently, there is room for about 60 cars to park on LHP (between the south roadway and the north parking lot), while the new Plan shows room for about 52 stalls.  However, this is just a concept, and the feasibility study will review parking needs, and will likely recommend a number of spaces—and the best locations for them.  Although not shown in Excel’s renderings from January, several parking spaces are planned to be added along the lake, just west of the Lighthouse itself.

What is a champion tree and how many are there on LHP?2020-07-28T15:25:56-05:00

Wisconsin DNR keeps a list of certified “champion trees,” and while Fond du Lac is proud to boast the state’s largest sycamore tree, it’s near Military & 1st, not in LSP.  There are, however, many mature and beautiful trees on LHP.  The City has an inventory of these trees, and will work with all project partners to preserve as many mature trees as possible, and to replace ones that are removed.  Among the more prominent trees on LHP include a 40” catalpa, two 70” poplars, three maples over 24”, and four evergreens over 20”.  (These trees are measured by DBH, or “diameter at breast height.”) Please note that the Emerald Ash Borer is decimating ash tree populations throughout the country, so even mature and healthy-looking ash trees are not among those trying to be preserved.

Is the Lighthouse tipping, or is there anything wrong with it?2020-07-27T11:22:35-05:00

Parks staff has completed significant repairs to the Lighthouse over the past decade.  Based on guidance a few years ago from the City building inspector after a review of interior bracing and bolts, structural screws were added to the framing.  Photos of the Lighthouse have been consistent for many years, so staff is confident that any “slight lean” the building may have is not worsening, and that the building is safe.  Even if repairs were needed for the Lighthouse, the source of those funds would be different from other projects in LSP, so whether the Plan is implemented or not will not impact this building.  Nothing in the Plan process has impacted the City’s decisions about whether—or how—to maintain or improve the Lighthouse.

Why is the Lighthouse closed?2020-07-27T11:23:11-05:00

This simply has to do with COVID-19, and the challenge it would be to maintain social distancing within or on top of the Lighthouse.

Why won’t the City accept the petition that has been started?2020-07-27T11:25:58-05:00

The more information a survey contains about the residency, demographics, and specific requests of those completing it, the more substance that survey is considered to have.  While on-line surveys have some value to provide a snapshot of the number of people interested in a topic, a paper survey with signatures, residency information, and a well-crafted “ask” will certainly carry more weight with City Council members and other decision-makers.

Did the City have a role in the telephone survey started on July 16, 2020?2020-08-28T14:46:17-05:00

No, the City was not involved in the telephone survey process. It was initiated and paid for by Envision Greater Fond du Lac with the intent of conducting a statistically-valid survey surrounding the attitudes of Fond du Lac residents towards a number of items as they pertain to the plan.  Anyone who would like to voice their opinion may go to the City web site to share it, regardless of whether they completed the telephone survey or not.

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