Letter to the Editor
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Should Lake Okoboji continue on its pathway of becoming – more and more — a "rich families lake" both on water and upon land?
Is the Okoboji Promenade the best example of wealthy families taking over public property and privatizing public property for their own families?
Should we ask? Do working families have the right to know where the public property lines are on the Okoboji Promenade?
I first walked from our cottage to The New Inn in 1959. Over the years, I began to realize about seven wealthy families really didn't want guests of The New Inn casually strolling in front of their homes. One home owner would make sure his sprinklers (on city property) would come on at the best time to soak New Inn guests. One day he did that to a new mother pushing her new baby in a baby stroller. The terrified mother ran for her baby's life. Luckily an ex-airborne officer caught him on his dock and explained that what he was doing was wrong and that the Promenade belonged to the people and not his family.
Another trick the wealthy homeowners would use to prevent working families from enjoying the Promenade from September through May: They would store their huge hoists, and dock planks across the Promenade walkway — making the walkway inoperable for nine months of the year. City council person Sue Larsen tried to put a stop to this before she passed away.
About 25 years ago Herb Hein explained to me there had been a major protest. The people were outraged that the wealthy homeowners were trying to get the city to vacate the public lakeshore property to the homeowner. He explained citizens had camped and pitched tents in front of his home and other homes up and down the Promenade demanding the public property not be vacated. Herb explained there used to be a road that ran all the way from Lakeshore Drive in front of the homes to The New Inn. Called Lakeshore Road. Herb explained the old Lakeshore Road bed was still public property. He showed me his property pegs and explained his property stopped about 65 to 70 feet from the lake. And this 70 feet was actually public property.
Have you noticed the city of Okoboji has only allowed one small dock for working families to enjoy whereas wealthy families have dozens of docks on public property to enjoy? But even there, there has been a conspiracy to make sure the little people can't even enjoy that small beach allocated to them. The city of Okoboji had allowed a property owner to take a steel chain and steel hoist and tie the steel chain and hoist to the tree next to the public dock, running the hoist and chain parallel to the lake, depriving families and their children of about 20 feet public lakeshore beach to enjoy.
Has the city of Okoboji's blindness over the last decades been willful? Don't they feel working families should be encouraged to use the public property? Or have they been busy with other issues? Or are they intimated with the wealth and power of wealthy homeowners?