Logemann dies a quick death
Veto sustained with no debate

By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic Staff

Dec. 14, 2017

MEQUON — For all the debate over the Logemann Center that consumed the Mequon Common Council for countless hours this year, the end was swift Tuesday.

It took a grand total of two minutes for the Mequon Common Council to sustain Mayor Dan Abendroth’s veto of its sale.

The mayor introduced the agenda item. Alderman John Wirth moved to sustain the veto. He got a second. The city attorney offered a brief explanation. Abendroth asked the clerk to record the vote. No discussion. No drama.

Aldermen voted 5-3 to keep the veto in place. That means former Alderman John Leszcynski’s plans to build the Northwoods Pub & Grill on the site in the developing Mequon Town Center are dead.

The Logemann Center, which offered recreation programs and housed community organizations, closed late in 2015. The building needed significant repairs and was too expensive to keep open. It’s in the middle of the developing Town Center.

Six votes were needed to override Abendroth’s veto of the contract, which was approved last month. Wirth and Dale Mayr, who supported the sale in November, switched sides and backed the veto.

“The proposal was already dead,” Wirth said after the meeting. “It was quite clear the veto never would have been overridden – and at some point, you have to be realistic.”

Mayr said Wednesday he initially thought it was a good project and Leszcynski deserved due process. As he looked closer at the parking situation, he decided it didn’t make sense to continue backing the plans.

As Tuesday’s meeting got underway, it appeared the night might go differently. There was talk an alderman might challenge the validity of the veto. The room was filled with community members interested in the outcome, including well over a dozen uniformed members of the nearby American Legion post. The post commander has been at City Hall every time the issue has come up and voiced parking concerns.

As the veto was quickly sustained, the Legion members and others appeared surprised. They got up to leave and milled in the hall outside the council chambers.

“It’s just a continuation of the disgrace,” Leszcynski told a reporter. “He doesn’t even take public comment before the vote.”

In an opinion piece Leszcynski submitted to the News Graphic Wednesday morning, he said his proposal has cost taxpayers more than $100,000 in parking studies, 17 months of city staff time, appraisals, offers and counter-offers.

“This process and the mayor’s agenda has been a manipulated disgrace,” he wrote, adding he suspects it was part of an effort to “return favors” to developers of two other Town Center projects.

Alderman Mark Gierl, the most-vocal supporter on the Common Council for Leszcynski’s restaurant plans, was told after the meeting of Leszcynski’s concern that no public comments were taken.

“I think this thing has been talked to death,” Gierl said. “I don’t think anyone’s mind was going to be changed from what they heard tonight.”

Now that a final decision has been made on Leszcynski’s plan, Gierl said it is important to look at what happens with a proposal made by a group of community leaders for improvements to the civic campus, including the swimming pool and Rennicke Field. That group said in January the improvements could be worth $4.1 million to $7.1 million.

“How soon will they get to work on raising the funds? Let’s see if they follow through on that,” Gierl said. He added that a few years from now, he doesn’t believe there will be anything more on the Logemann site than a parking lot or a beer garden.

“To tell you the truth, I hope I’m wrong,” he said.

<<EARLIER: Backwoods Pub makes its final stand