|Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront|
From Sturgeon Bay in northeastern Wisconsin citizens groups are working to protect a critical natural resource.
From The Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront:
The Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront was formed to challenge the sale of land along Sturgeon Bay’s westside waterfront to a private developer. One of the founders of the Friends group, Shawn Fairchild, explains, 'These lands are held in trust for the people of Wisconsin and all improvements done on the land should benefit everyone, not just one private developer. We oppose the selling of this public waterfront land to a private party. We believe that fundamentally it is no different than selling a State Park. '
Today the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and Sturgeon Bay residents filed a brief in federal court opposing a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against the City of Sturgeon Bay and its Waterfront Redevelopment Authority regarding the City’s proposed sale of Public Trust land.
Midwest Environmental Advocates has joined attorneys from Wheeler, Van Sickle & Anderson, S.C. to represent the local residents and support their constitutionally protected right to due process and access to the lakebed property held in public trust by our state government.
You can download the full brief online at http://tinyurl.com/pg3ouob. The case is Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront et al v. City of Sturgeon Bay and Waterfront Redevelopment Authority of the City of Sturgeon Bay.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is charged with protecting public trust land, and Wisconsin has vigorously defended these public rights in navigable waters for over a century. 'We hope that the courts will consider the available evidence so that our state and local governments continue that protection of public shoreline in one of Wisconsin's most unique places', said Fairchild.
The Friends group established a fund at Associated Bank and is seeking contributions toward legal expenses. In addition to monetary donations, the Friends group has sought the support of non-profit advocacy groups. They announced recently that new public endorsements have come from the Democratic Party of Door County and the Great Lakes Commons; these are in addition to prior endorsements from the Door County Environmental Council, Door Property Owners, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Midwest Environmental Advocates and Preserve Our Parks. The Friends expressed gratitude to the organizations. 'We know that these organizations studied this issue carefully and we’re pleased that they’ve chosen to stand in support of public land,' said Kathleen Finnerty, founding member of the Friends.
“We just keep growing - every day, every week, every month we add more members, supporters and contributions. We are creating an incredible amount of creativity and enthusiasm in the community right now. We invite everyone to come and be a part of it”, said Finnerty.
More information about the Friends group is available at www.friendsofsturgeonbaypublicwaterfront.com. Contributions are needed and may be made online, dropped off at Associated Bank or sent to Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront Fund, PO Box 534, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. Donations will be kept confidential by request. Excess funds or recovery of legal fees if the Friends prevail will be returned on a prorated basis. Contributions of any size are greatly appreciated.