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Town Line Lake Park: Sell it or Save it?

Erin Gottsacker/WXPR

Several years ago, Oneida County’s Forestry, Land and Recreation Committee decided to sell a portion of Town Line Lake Park.

But the sale still hasn’t been completed.

Now, a group of community members are speaking up in opposition.

Two miles outside Rhinelander, Town Line Lake Park offers public access to a small lake.

Years ago, the park housed playground equipment and picnic shelters.

But more recently, fewer visitors frequent the park.

“The use of that park has dropped dramatically,” said Paul Fiene, Oneida County’s Forestry Director. “I’ve been here 26 years and in the 26 years I’ve been here the use of the lake has been minimal.”

He said the drop in visitors is part of the reason the Forestry, Land and Recreation committee voted to sell 8 acres of the park in 2017.

The committee had planned to use funds from the sale to purchase a different lakeside property.

But with a change of leadership, the sale never happened.

Now it’s back on the committee’s agenda, and a group of vocal community members are trying to prevent it from happening.

Credit Erin Gottsacker/WXPR

David DeMent is one of those people. He spoke up at Wednesday’s meeting.

“By selling, you will be taking away what I like to call a foundation of generational memories,” he said. “These are the places that build memories from childhood to adulthood and are passed on through generations.”

The group of community members started a petition on change.org to stop the sale of Town Line Lake Park.

So far, it has collected more than 1,000 signatures.

Fiene said he recognizes their concerns, but it’s ultimately up to the committee to decide its next steps in coming meetings.

The boat landing and old beach area are not included in the portion of the park being sold. They will remain available for public use.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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