According to a representative on the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, it is unlikely the committee will approve a $1.6 million grant to Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) through the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program for the purchase of the Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs Nature Preserve in Port Washington. The grant would allow the land trust to complete the purchase of the 131-acre property, which includes nearly a mile of shoreline along Lake Michigan.
Earlier in the year, a legislator on the committee anonymously objected to the grant, stalling the process. A private buyer is now interested the property, making it unlikely that the committee will meet to approve the grant.
OWLT has an agreement with the owner of the land (Waukesha State Bank) to purchase the property by the fall of 2022 for $5 million. Without the Stewardship grant, OWLT will likely be short of the needed funding, and making up the difference would be very challenging, according to Executive Director Tom Stolp.
“We’re formulating Plan B as we go,” Stolp said. “We haven’t given up on Plan A yet. We’re not going down without a fight.”
Concerned citizens can visit OWLT’s Take Action webpage to contact their state representatives.
Featured image by Rachel Kramer, 2017.