Governor Signs Bill to Transfer Ownership of White Mound County Park to Sauk County
DNR to sell property back to the county for $1.00
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill (SB) 276 today to become Act 56 to sell White Mound County Park back to Sauk County for $1. State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), Representative Todd Novak (Dodgeville) and Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg) co-authored the bill.
“Sauk County has developed White Mounds County Park into a valuable asset for the county,” Marklein said. “As they look toward the future and new investments, it makes sense for the state to sell the property back to them to give the county full ownership of the land on which they plan to spend additional county funds.”
“I am proud of our bi-partisan work to pass this sensible bill,” Novak said. “I look forward to seeing the new development at the park.”
“White Mounds County Park is a beautiful place,” Brooks said. “This simple change will enable the county to continue developing the property for future generations to enjoy.
Act 56 transfers the property on which White Mound County 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 has requested the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sell the land back to the county. SB 276 directs the DNR to sell the land to the county for $1, 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.
SB 276 passed the State Senate on June 14, 2017 and the State Assembly on June 21, 2017 with unanimous, bi-partisan support. The bill became Act 56 on Wednesday, August 2, 2017.