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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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Rotary Pancake Day: 7:30 a.m. Feb. 28, Waukesha County Expo Center, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha. Fundraiser for the Waukesha Rotary Club is 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Expo Center Arena. Advance tickets at Waukesha State Bank, downtown location., $5-$7. $5 advance, $7 at the door; free for children 5 and younger. www.waukesharotary.org.

Ninth Annual Oconomowoc Rotary Wine & Brew Fest: 5 p.m. Feb. 28, Olympia Resort, 1350 Royale Mile Rd, Oconomowoc. Wine, food and beer. Features foods from the best of our local restaurants. Purchase tickets at $50 from an O-Town Rotarian, through Facebook, or in person at most area First Bank Financial Centre locations, Books & Company & Lorleberg True Value Hardware. See more at www.oconomowocrotary.org. $50.

Chili Tasting: 11 a.m. Feb. 28, The Garden Mart, W297 S9115 Highway 83, Mukwonago. Chili tasting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local vendors will be selling unique merchandise. Judging is open to the public and all proceeds from voting will be donated to the Mukwonago Food Pantry. Event is free. Call (262) 363-5252 for information.

Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash Literacy Event: 10 a.m. Feb. 28, Hartland North Elementary, 232 Church Street, Hartland. Families with children in 4-year old kindergarten through second grade are invited to a special event. The Cat in the Hat and the Lorax will celebrate with a big birthday cake for all of our guests along with lots of literacy activities based around Dr. Seuss books.

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