Lake Lawn resort goes from foreclosure to renovation, job creation

CREATED Apr 19, 2012

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DELAVAN - Delavan's Lake Lawn Resort has been an iconic Wisconsin landmark for more than a century, but in 2010, an era ended.

The popular vacation destination underwent foreclosure.  Many wondered if it would ever be Lake Lawn again, but it is back and hiring new staff.

300 people were laid off when the foreclosure happened.

"I was terrified," said gift shop supervisor Sue Phelps, who lost her job after 17 years.

"It was tough on us.  You go from two paychecks to one paycheck.  It was difficult.

Delavan, a city of fewer than 10,000 people, also suffered.

Shirley Kastein operates Barker Lumber Company.  She says Lake Lawn's collapse was devastating to the community.

"When a company or a lodge this size closes, you definitely see the impact," said Kastein.

"But after six months of desolation, word came that a group of investors bought the property and planned to keep its tradition alive.

Lake Lawn hired many of its previous workers back, including Phelps.

"Ecstatic.  I was ecstatic.  Very happy."

Crews made renovations on the golf course, in the courtyard and areas throughout.

"This is really an exciting time in Lake Lawn's history for the property to be around for more than 130 years, and all the projects and renovations taking place.  It's really exciting," said General Manager Dave Sekeres.

He's a husband and father of two, and he also got his job back.

"Lake Lawn looks the best it's ever looked."

The company employs 225 people, and it's looking to add another 100 workers this summer.