Kayaks to Comus Lake, visitors to downtown: Delavan City Council approves money for plan
DELAVAN—Strategic plans often go nowhere—except to a shelf to collect dust.
In Delavan, the downtown strategic plan recently took several steps forward in the direction of Comus Lake, one of the city's quiet treasures.
On Tuesday, the Delavan City Council voted to approve using up to $25,000 in capital improvement funds to establish a kayak rental on Comus Lake. The idea was part of a strategic plan developed by Vandewalle & Associates in 2013.
“Most visitors to downtown Delavan probably do not even realize that they are within a few short blocks of Lake Comus,” the plan notes.
Since that time, an ad hoc committee of council members, business owners and chamber of commerce representatives have been working on developing ideas.
The kayak plan involves an intergovernmental agreement with the Delavan-Darien School District. Several years ago, the district received a large grant to purchase a variety of athletic equipment, and kayaks were included. The city hopes to use at least some of those kayaks.
“We don't know the specifics quite yet,” said Tom Klug, Delavan park and recreation director. “But the plan is that we would be looking at starting in the middle of June and run through the middle of August.”
The tentative plan calls for putting the kayak service in Comus Lake across from Veteran's Memorial Park, Klug said.
Comus Lake has a 5 mph speed limit, making it ideal for kayaks, Klug said.
Money for the project will come from the capital improvement budget but will not represent an additional budget item.
Alderman Bruce DeWitt explained that the city had budgeted for 2014 projects. Some of the projects have come in under budget, and that money will be used for the project.
Tuesday's council vote on the money was 4-2, with alderpersons Mary O'Connor and Gary Stebnitz voting against.
O'Connor said she thought the kayak rental was a good idea, but she was concerned about using any money in the capital improvement budget.
Alderman Ryan Schroeder, who serves on the council's ad hoc committee devoted to the downtown, said the plan represents a new way to promote the area and asked the council to “show good faith in the work of the committee."
Alderman Jeff Johnson said the community has repeatedly requested that more be done in the downtown.
“Our constituents tell us that they want to see a vital downtown,” Johnson said.
The intergovernmental agreement still must be approved by the school board.