Village Board shoots down boat tours on Pewaukee Lake

By Brandon Anderegg

Feb. 28, 2019

PEWAUKEE — A proposal from a business to offer ferry rides and boat tours around Pewaukee Lake was dead in the water following a Feb. 19 Village Board meeting.

Shear Magic Inc. business owners Scott and Kristina Dickmann of Muskego hoped to establish a boating business that would offer daily sunset cruises, private events and boat tours on Pewaukee Lake.

Their goal was to rent and operate the business from the village-owned pavilion at Lakefront Park and have their twin hull boat moored behind the pavilion.

In addition to boat tours, the Dickmanns planned to run a small snack shop out of the pavilion. However, Village Board members had several issues with the proposal and shot it down after a 45-minute discussion, said Jeff Knutson, village president.

“The board was not comfortable having a for-profit business renting the property that the village owned,” Knutson said.

Knutson also pointed out that lakefront businesses pay taxes while the proposed business would pay rent to the village — a factor that could lead to an unfair advantage for the business, Knutson said. Also, board members argued that there wouldn’t be enough parking for the business, which has long been a challenge for businesses on Wisconsin Avenue, Knutson added.

“They would be paying rent, but would that rent offset taxes that are being paid by businesses downtown?” Knutson said. “If we’re going to bring in private businesses that are going to help the community, I think it should be on a level playing field as all of the businesses in the village.”

However, Dickmann viewed the proposal as an opportunity to bring even more movement to the downtown area, which would help stimulate the local economy, he said.

“There has to be different activities or different reasons to come to the lake,” Dickmann said. “The more activity that you have going on, it becomes a little more of a destination.”

Dickmann said he wanted to partner with local businesses and organizations in the area with special events for veterans, seniors and even yoga workshops where yogis could practice their craft out on the water.

“We’re just trying to be creative and bring some unique activities and events to the village,” Dickmann said. “Even after this meeting, if they’re interested in having discussions, I’m open to it.” Board members opined that Dickmann’s proposal would work better if he partnered with a privately-owned business somewhere on the lake, Knutson said.

“We love the concept, we wish it would work down there but we can’t go along with it,” Knutson said.