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O'Keefe: Lakeside Park development

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Lakeside Park in north Racine is a long-time community resource. The basketball courts are busy all summer and there are residents with children who chose this neighborhood based on proximity to the green space.

Residents who lobbied the city to upgrade the park's facilities have been ignored, and — when the community center burned in 2019 — the city directed the $967,000 insurance payout to other neighborhoods.

On Oct. 5, the Racine City Council voted unanimously to enter into a planning option agreement with the F Street Development Group to explore the feasibility of a mixed use development at the site. The option was negotiated in secret and there was no advance notice to the residents of District 5.

In fact, when residents questioned our alderman about rumors of the development, they were told she knew nothing about it. She then proceeded to discuss the option in a closed council session and voted for the agreement.

Residents of District 5 have still heard nothing from the city or our "representative" on the council.

This summer, residents met (with our alderman present) to discuss, among other issues, the future of Lakeside Park. None of the options included condos. And none of the participants were included or informed of the planning option being negotiated.

With all the vacant property and stalled developments downtown, it's not surprising that the city was reluctant to publicize a plan to turn an active neighborhood green space over to a developer. But we deserve better from our elected representatives.

Peter O'Keefe, Racine

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