Mequon — The Logemann Community Center, which has been part of the community since 1988, has two possible futures: a portion could be a restaurant or the whole building could be demolished.
The Mequon common council, meeting as the Committee of the Whole, discussed these options for the site at 6100 W. Mequon Road on Jan. 10.
The Logemann Community Center closed down Dec. 31, 2015, due to decreasing revenue. The city reached out in June to developers for bids to demolish the site, which would include the center itself, an old Department of Public Works radio tower, and a 4,600-gallon buried water tank.
Following that, two proposals are now on the table.
The first option is to save a portion of the building for a restaurant. The second proposal is being made by a group of area business leaders calling themselves Foxtown Ventures. Their proposal includes totally tearing down the building and overhauling the civic campus which would include updating the baseball field into a multi-use field and updating to the swimming pool.
John Graham of JG Ventures is one of the Foxtown Ventures developers. He spoke during public comment, saying he’s been asked why he and the other developers have made this proposal. He said they all are part of the community and the park is “tired,” the pool needs to be fixed or replaced and not removed, and the baseball diamond needs refurbishing.
To accomplish this, Graham said he believes the community will come together and raise funds. He added nothing can be done to the Logemann Center that makes economic sense so instead “why not do something for the community?”
“It’s not going to be — no pun intended — a walk in the park to get this done,” Graham said.
Issues and options
The city’s economic development board previously voted 8-0 in favor of preserving some of the building for a restaurant. However, the council didn’t select either proposal but instead will review both further at a future council meeting.
One of the biggest reasons to demolish the building was to potentially create more parking for the already parking-challenged Town Center. However, some aldermen didn’t want to miss an opportunity to bring in another business.
Alderman Robert Strzelczyk said this would be a chance for the city to get a nice restaurant, which could be a community gathering space. In contrast, he said the area is part of the civic campus and park land use ties in with it being a public space.
Recently, the Town Center was sold to Lokre Companies. Strzelczyk referenced a letter from them regarding concerns with parking, suggesting something needs to be done.
Kim Tollefson, director of community development, said there are some concerns with the restaurant, including deliveries being conducted at the front, which could further impact parking issues.
Overall, Strzelczyk said the city has to mitigate the parking issue while creating a community gathering space.
Public or private?
After much discussion, Mayor Dan Abendroth broke all the arguments down to one simple question, asking the council if they saw this as a public or private use space.
Alderwoman Connie Pukaite said she supported a public use.
“We need to enhance the park in any case,” she said, referring to bringing people to live in the Town Center.
She said she shares the concern that a restaurant would exacerbate the parking issues in the Town Center. She referenced the approximately 50 city employees coming in and out of city hall every day, those coming to city hall for municipal court, plus the need of Town Center employees and the American Legion for long-term parking.
“I think we have parking issues,” Pukaite said. “When municipal court is in session, it is impossible to find parking.”
Alderman Dale Mayr said the city shouldn’t set aside a prime area for development for a park and is inclined more to the private development of the area.
Alderman Mark Gierl said he is leaning more toward a private development but added that he wants more information as to why the economic development board voted in favor of the restaurant proposal.
“I’d like to see what they had to say and what their reasoning was,” he said.
Alderman John Hawkins wasn’t ready to vote yet, saying there were more questions than answers at this point.
The Mequon Town Center is approximately 100 acres and includes various businesses as well as city hall.