By Senator Howard Marklein
August 4, 2017
White Mound County Park - Sold for $1!
Governor Scott Walker recently signed Senate Bill (SB) 276 to become Act 56, which instructs the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to sell the property at White Mound County Park to Sauk County for $1. I was proud to co-author this bill with other Sauk County legislators - Rep. Todd Novak (Dodgeville), Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg), Sen. John Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Rep. Dave Considine (D-Baraboo) - to solve a local problem and encourage local investment.
White Mound County Park is located in the southwestern corner of Sauk County off of Hwy 23 near Hillpoint. It is 15 miles north of Spring Green or 17 miles south of Reedsburg. Sauk County has developed White Mound County Park into a valuable asset by managing a beach, swimming area, campsites and trails even though the state of Wisconsin technically owned the physical property on which the park is located.
Sauk County purchased the property in 1965, with the intent to create a county park. However, at the time the county did not have a parks department, and subsequently sold the property to the State of Wisconsin for approximately $25,000.
In 1967, the State Conservation Commission (the predecessor of the Natural Resources Board) granted a perpetual easement to the county for a recreational area open to the general public. The county was also allowed to construct a multiple-use dam on the property.
Sauk County has had the financial responsibility to repair and maintain the dam. In addition, the county has made several improvements to the park, and manages the land to enhance the recreational experience for users.
The Sauk County Parks Department plans future improvements to the park and it will be more efficient and financially-responsible if the county owns the land on which they want to continue to invest. Act 56 directs the DNR to sell the land to the county for one dollar, restricts the deed so the land must continue to be used for recreational purposes, and if the land ceases to be used by the county for recreational purposes, it would revert back to the state. The DNR has not expressed concern or opposition and the bill unanimously passed both the Senate and the Assembly.
This is a great example of collaboration and problem-solving. The county identified an issue, brought it to local legislators and we took action. It was common sense to update the ownership of this property to encourage growth and development of this asset into the future.
I enjoy working on legislation with this kind of root and outcome. As your State Senator, I am seeking other ways that I can work on your behalf to improve state-local relations and move toward efficiency and effectiveness. I need your help.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any ideas for ways that we can update state laws or regulations. I often say that the best legislation comes directly from residents of the 17th District who are working in our communities every day. You are the ones who know when things work, when they don’t and what we need to improve. Please keep in touch.
For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and subscribe to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to Sen.Marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov. Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.