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City of Oconomowoc eyes arbitration, eminent domain over land sought for community center parking

City wants the land for community center parking

Jan. 9, 2013

City of Oconomowoc - The city is hoping to settle an issue over the purchase of property across from the community center before having to resort to eminent domain. The city wants to use the parcel at 219 W. Wisconsin Ave. for parking to serve the community center, but ongoing negotiations haven't been successful, said Mayor Jim Daley.

On Monday, the city sent out its preliminary agenda for Tuesday's Common Council meeting, listing a binding arbitration agreement for 219 W. Wisconsin Ave., or eminent domain. Daley explained the city hopes the arbitration goes forward and it doesn't have to go to eminent domain.

"What we're trying to do is work with the owner to say, 'We have different ideas on the value of the property, and we have a duty to taxpayers to negotiate an agreeable amount.' If not, then we will get an arbitrator to look at it from a neutral point of view," said Daley.

According to Waukesha County tax records, the property is owned by John A. Haas and Ken Herro. Its estimated fair market value is listed as $217,000 at tax.waukeshacounty.gov.

The council has held a closed session on the property recently, and Daley declined to go into details of the ongoing negotiations, or what the city has offered the property owners for the parcel.

"If they're not going to agree to work it out in arbitration, we could consider eminent domain. We're just trying to be transparent, and we don't want to not give notice" that the city is working on purchasing the land for community center parking, said Daley.

The final Common Council agenda is released late Friday afternoon, which will show a more clear picture of what direction the city expects to head on the issue.

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The Art of the Bicycle: Dec. 17-20, Delafield Arts Center, 719 Genesee St., Delafield. Diane Lehman, Peter Kudlata and Wheel & Sprocket. Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Friday: 11am-4pm; first and third Saturdays of each month: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and by appointment. Free. http://www.delafieldartscenter.org/.

Country Christmas Outdoor Drive-through Lights Display: 5-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 5-10 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and holidays through Dec. 31. Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Wisconsin’s largest drive-through holiday lights event features more than a million holiday lights along a mile-long trail that winds through the woods, Includes animated figures and holiday scenes. Call (262) 970-5398 for details., $15-$25. $15 per carload, $25 limo, mini-coach or large van http://www.thecountrychristmas.com.

Nutcracker Ballet: 7 p.m. Dec. 19; 1 p.m., 7 p.m. Dec. 20; 2 p.m. Dec. 21, Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 East Forest Street, Oconomwoc. Mainstage Academy of Dance performs this beloved Tchaikovsky ballet, a holiday classic the whole family will enjoy. Visit www.theoac.net for more information or tickets. $14-$16 http://www.wedancemainstage.com 

Tom Heideman’s Swamp Party: 9:30 p.m. Dec. 20, Delafield Brewhaus, 3832 Hillside Drive, Delafield. For more information call (262) 646-7821.

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