Welcome to Preserve Our Parks

Preserve Our Parks, a nonprofit watchdog group, battles to keep Milwaukee area parks open and green, resists incursions for non-park uses, and fights for funds to properly maintain one of the County’s greatest treasures, its parks system.

POP was founded in 1999 by a group of Milwaukeeans concerned about the future of our public parks, green spaces and the lakefront. Over the years, we had seen our parks nibbled by sales, leases and easements. We'd seen public policies on parks grow lenient. We'd seen our parks invaded by non-park, non-public purposes.

Find out more about Preserve Our Parks!

POP battles to uphold Public Trust Doctrine

Both O'Donnell Park & Transit Center site involved

PRESERVE OUR PARKS is battling on two fronts to uphold, among other principles, the Public Trust Doctrine enshrined in the Wisconsin Constitution. It guarantees public ownership of filled lakebed land, on which parts of both County properties rest.

A developer wants to build a 44-story mixed-use tower on the Transit Center site and

Northwestern Mutual Life insurance Co. proposes to buy O'Donnell Park. NML wants the 1,300-space parking structure underlying the park for the cars of employees it will house in a 32-story office tower it is building across the street.

The other principles POP supports are: The will of Milwaukeeans when city parks were transferred to the County in the late 1930s was that those properties remain public parkland forever, and that – overall -- our parks are NOT for sale.

Please contact your County Supervisor and the County Executive to express your opposition to both public land sales.

See details of the two battles by clicking on the links below:

Current Issues

December 18, 2014

Statement on the County Board action to quell the sale of O’Donnell Park by John Lunz, President of Preserve Our Parks

The park's financial troubles: their share of the county tax levy fell from 31% to 9.9% between 1980 and 2000, and park staffs were cut by two-thirds. And the downward trend has continued. Economies have included fee increases, pool closings, elimination of lifeguards, no more stocking of fish in lagoons.

Alarmed by the number of building projects once planned for Milwaukee's lakefront, POP spearheaded opposition and succeeded in quashing several of them.  The projects lacked coordination and there was myopia about the paving, parking, car congestion and visual mishmash they'd produce -- not to mention loss of green space and lake views.