By Tim Kowols
The Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront believe a recently released email between city officials and their lawyer is a sign that legal issues were known before moving ahead with the final design of the west waterfront redevelopment. In a 2014 email circulating online, Sturgeon Bay Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak expressed his frustration with Tom German, the deputy secretary of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, while the city was trying to acquire a lake bed lease for parcels on the waterfront. Olejniczak wrote “if I could have reached through and strangled him I might have. This stupid public trust doctrine continues to haunt us and I am getting fed up.” Dan Collins from the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront says the email is one example available in public records showing the city knew of the issues that lied ahead.
The city of Sturgeon Bay and the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront head to trial over the disputed parcels and their ordinary high water mark on February 9.