To be or not be Freedom

Committee will reconsider the name of new village park after request to have it honor Emmers

CONSTRUCTION CONTINUED Monday on the pavilion at the recently named Freedom Park in Fredonia. A request to rename the park to honor Eugene and Vera Emmer has village officials reconsidering their decision. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press Staff

A proposal to change the name of Fredonia’s newest park will be considered by the village Parks Committee, trustees voted last week. 

The Village Board recently christened Freedom Park, a one-acre green space next to the post office and bounded by Fredonia Avenue and Regal Drive.

But Ken Watry, who owns property in the village but is not a resident, asked that the park be named after Eugene and Vera Emmer, who donated the land to the Northern Ozaukee School District, which later sold it to the village.

In an email, Watry said the Emmers should be recognized for donating 38 acres to the Northern Ozaukee School District and “multi millions of dollars of philanthropy in the Village of Fredonia.”

“We’re going to try to weed through this,” said Trustee Jill Bertram, who is chairman of the Parks Committee. “I think once it goes back to committee, I will have a better feel.”

The process for naming the park started in January when trustees began to collect suggestions from residents, mainly through social media.

The two finalists were Freedom and Endeavor. The board opted in May to name the park Freedom.

“We put it out to the community and got suggestions,” Bertram said. “It’s not like we were trying to ram it through.”

Before last week’s meeting, however, Watry asked the board to reconsider.

Eugene Emmer was a Fredonia resident who died in February 2003. Vera Emmer died in November 2002. 

The couple founded and owned Emmer Excavating.

Fredonia has an Emmer Street, but Bertram said she has been told it is named after Lawrence Emmer, not Eugene Emmer.

She also suggested a plaque at the park might be an appropriate way to recognize the Emmers.

Construction is underway at the park to build a pavilion. Sidewalks are also planned.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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