Former employees, condo owners face uncertainty now that Lake Lawn has closed
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Lake Lawn Resort on Dec. 7, 2010, the last day the historic hotel was open following a foreclosure sale in October. Dan Plutchak/WalworthCountyToday.com.
DELAVAN — For those who worked at Lake Lawn Resort up until it closed Tuesday, prospects for a new job a difficult, but not impossible.
Marilyn Putz, manager of the Walworth County Job Center in Elkhorn, said she and members of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development met with about 90 Lake Lawn employees at the resort in November to offer assistance in looking for work.
“We’ve had some people come in (to the Job Center office) already,” Putz said.
She said resort employees face a tough economy, future retraining and possibly less pay in the future, but should take advantage of job-assistance programs and keep networking among friends and acquaintances.
“Unemployment has stayed relatively high in Walworth County, yet we’re still seeing people get jobs,” Putz said. “Things can change so quickly; it’s hard to predict.”
City officials are hoping the resort can be resurrected.
“This city council will be diligent to work with any possible prospects to re-open Lake Lawn,” Nieuwenhuis said.
Calls for comment to Anchor Bank representatives and Lake Lawn’s owners weren’t returned.
“The bank is holding the cards at the moment,” Salitros said. “The city has shown its willingness to respond to anyone who was showing interest in Lake Lawn … (but) the bank’s been very quiet.”
Anchor Bank has cooperated with a homeowners association whose 222 members own “condotels” inside the resort, according to Dale Thorpe, a Delavan attorney who is representing the group.
“The bank is preserving minimal access to members for inspection but not for occupancy,” Thorpe said. “The association is taking steps to preserve and protect the condominium in the form of fire protection, security and heat.”
When Patti Marsicano, who owns the Village Supper Club in Delavan with her husband, Chris, thinks of Lake Lawn, she ponders the present, the past and the future.
“Everybody has their own memories of Lake Lawn and what it means to them,” she said.
She remembers a time, decades ago, when Lake Lawn employees trooped to her restaurant’s bar — still open after the resort’s bar had closed for the evening.
“Do I hope there’s an 11th-hour reprieve? Absolutely,” Marsicano said. “Lake Lawn impacts the local economy more than many people realize. So much of Delavan is based on tourism.
“Delavan is no longer a resort community because we no longer have a resort. And without those 200-plus rooms, where are people going to go? The motels and hotels can’t hold them. People are not going to come here.”
Read the full story in the e-edition of Walworth County Sunday, HERE.