Greendale — Inclement weather may not be the only hindrance to skiers looking forward this winter to spending time at The Rock Sports Complex.
A dispute over a permit for the ski hill between the complex owner and the village continued this week, fueling speculation that the matter may result in a lawsuit.
The lingering issue over noise and light from the complex reportedly bothering residents prompted The Rock owner Mike Zimmerman to share a letter he wrote to Village Manager Todd Michaels detailing his frustration and asking to be part of any meeting to discuss the matter and proper permits for skiing.
The ski hill and part of the bike park set within Greendale are on only part of the 20-acre facility. The majority of the sports complex is located in Franklin.
In his letter to Michaels, Zimmerman pointed to cooperation he has received from "all other neighboring officials," and his $10 million investment in building a sports complex on a landfill. He called the development "significant and positive progress" for Greendale and Franklin because the facility attracts families and employs "over a hundred people."
The issue is further complicated because The Rock property is owned by Milwaukee County, which leases it to the business. Michaels said that is why the village is talking exclusively to county officials.
"I checked on my computer this morning, and there have been about 50 emails exchanged between the county and the village about this," Michaels said. "We are working exclusively with the county because we have been told to by the county."
County officials this week did not return calls regarding the dispute. In June, County Executive Chris Abele said in a statement that attorneys were working with local municipalities to resolve the matter.
Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor, a supporter of The Rock since its inception, said he has not been approached to help intervene. He said he believes the problem stems from a small number of Greendale residents.
"I know that The Rock's management has done a lot of things to shield light and keep noise down," Taylor said. He sent the Franklin Police Department to check on noise at the facility during its Halloween event. The result is that with the exception of one or two times, the noise was below a pre-determined decibel threshold.
"I can tell you that we have had issues with the previous ski hill operation on that site years ago," Taylor said. "What has been built there now draws people from all over the Midwest and beyond. We get the benefit of having people come here, and when they do they may stop in at local businesses."
The Rock Sports Complex was developed on the former Crystal Ridge ski hill and surrounding property. In addition to skiing, it includes venues for snow tubing, dirt bike riding and baseball.
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