Lions Club president addresses Beer Garden status

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter on behalf of the Sheboygan Falls Lions Club.

The local Lions Club is part of the world’s largest charitable organization, which boasts a membership of more than 1.35 million worldwide and approximately 70 members here in Sheboygan Falls.

The mission of Lions worldwide is to serve our communities, as well as the world community through service and charitable giving.

As a Lion, I take great pride in what we have been able to accomplish.

Over the past 60 years, your Sheboygan Falls Lions have supported numerous projects that have benefited the residents of Sheboygan Falls and the surrounding communities including:

• Provided funding to Sharon Richardson Hospice for the purchase of lighting and security.

• Assisted in the purchase of a vision screener for the Sheboygan Falls School District.

• Donated to the recent remodeling project at the Sheboygan Falls YMCA.

• Purchased and installed lighting for the flag at the Sheboygan Falls Post Office.

• Provided financial support to the Wisconsin Lions Camp in Rosholt to enable local disabled children to attend the camp at no charge.

• Financed and oversaw the construction of the handicapped accessible pier at River Park lagoon.

• Provided funding to the city to refurbish the holiday decorations which are displayed each year.

• Purchased a hearing aid and coordinated the physician support for a local student.

• Provided financial support to a local resident with sight impairment to purchase equipment to help with reading.

• Provided financial support to the school for children in need of clothing, school equipment and other day-to-day necessities.

• Support local athletic programs including the United Football League and local recreation department programs.

• Provided in excess of $100,000 in scholarships to Sheboygan Falls High School graduates.

This is a short list of some of the ways that we have given back to our local community.

At present, one of our primary focuses is making a significant donation to the new westside park.

In addition to these local efforts, we have also been committed to supporting those causes identified by Lions International, which include financial support to disaster relief worldwide, sight/hearing impaired programs and other international projects identified by our leadership.

The reason why we have been able to accomplish all this is the support that we have received from our membership, Sheboygan Falls’ residents and the local business community.

Recently, the Lions Club has drawn a great deal of criticism due to the proposed German Heritage Museum and Biergarten.

It was never our goal to push this project through without having an open dialogue with the neighbors or the local community.

As the mayor described during the Common Council meeting on Nov. 18, there is a process which has been set forth by the city in order to seek the required approval of the project.

Following the initial meeting with the Plan Commission, we were working to address the issues which arose and to finalize a site plan which is required to move forward.

Without this information, we were not prepared to move forward and share the vision of this project or to better respond to the concerns of the neighbors and the Plan Commission.

To be fair to the Lions Club, nearly every item brought up at the council meeting had also been discussed during our numerous committee meetings and were understandably things we felt would need to be vetted out as either a minor challenge to overcome or a potential dealbreaker.

A couple of items that need to have some added clarity:

1. The Lorge property was not chosen to help out a Lions Club member’s family trying to sell it. In fact, this property was identifi ed as the family was willing to sell it at a substantial discount to help the project get started.

2. No Lions Club or taxpayer money will be utilized to finance this project should it proceed.

3. The Sheboygan Falls Lions Club, through its voting members, overwhelmingly approved the decision to explore the biergarten as a potential project to improve an underutilized asset in our community (i.e. Settlers Park) with a potential tourist attraction, which would also bring more people and dollars to our city.

As we progress with the biergarten project, we look forward to the opportunity to work with the residents of Sheboygan Falls to address the concerns that have been expressed and to come to a conclusion that we all can live with.

In the long run, we hope that everyone will be satisfied with the outcome and that we as an organization can further give back to our wonderful community of Sheboygan Falls.

Alan Mayer
Sheboygan Falls Lions Club

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