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Townline Lake Park to Remain Intact as Oneida County Board Rejects Resolution with Sale Plans

Erin Gottsacker/WXPR

Plans to sell Townline Lake Park in Oneida County are on hold indefinitely.

The County Board voted unanimously to not move forward with the next steps towards selling.

“Some of my earliest memories are at the park. I grew up spending countless hours fishing the shoreline and photographing its beauty,” said David Walters, chairman of the Friends of Townline Lake Park.

Ahead of the Oneida County Boards decision regarding the park, Walters spoke to the board members about why he and other in the Friends of Townline Lake Park organization want to save it as well as its potential if the county keeps it.

“We intend to promote the use of the park. Feature and improve the natural beauty of the lake and park,” said Walters. Some of the Friends of the Park’s plan for the park include establishing a picnic area, adding trails, and installing a fishing pier.

The decision to sell the park came up five years ago, but the sale was never completed.

In January, Oneida County Forestry Director Paul Fiene said use of the park has dropped dramaticallyover the years.

In recent board and committee meetings when conversations of the sale of the park came up again, some board members wondered where the people wanting to save the park were five years ago.

Walters argued many didn’t know it was being considered for sale, but now that they know they want it saved and are willing to put in the work to do so.

“That’s not to say 20 years down the road, if the group fails miserably and you guys want to sell the park, that’s your right. But at this point in time, there really is not a necessity. We have the people here to help facilitate the development and the use and the maintenance of that park,” said Walters.

Supervisor Bob Mott encouraged the board to let them try.

“I love the idea of citizen involvement. I think that it’s shown here. It’s the way democracy is supposed to work. I don’t see any problem allowing that group to, pretty much like RASTA, to go ahead with their plans for the park. We have work plan in place. We have active participants,” said Mott.

The resolution brought to the board Tuesday called for working with the DNR to start the process to sell a portion of the park.

The sale of the park land was originally meant to offset the cost of buying 231 acres in 2017.

One supervisor recommended the Forestry Committee look at where else it could make up the costs before the full board voted unanimously to reject the resolution that would’ve moved forward with the sale.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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