Our Parks Could Be Closed Due to County Funding Issues

A recent Report released by the Wisconsin Policy Forum (WPF), “Picking Up the Pieces” sums up the budgetary hurdles of the County and lays out potential remedies.  Those remedies consist of various taxes, Public/Private initiatives, Philanthropy and reducing the list of Capital (bonding) needs among others.  

The following is an excerpt from this report.

“An area that might logically be examined to reduce the list of capital needs is the county’s parks, recreation, and culture functions. Not only is that one of the few areas of discretionary capital spending for the county, but our research also has found that it is the biggest contributor to the list of requested projects from 2020 through 2023.

The question of which parks and cultural projects to cross off the list is a difficult and subjective one that we cannot answer. Clearly, such discussion would benefit from in-depth analysis of the usage of various parks and recreational amenities, as well as the extent to which there may be overlap in cultural and recreational offerings in certain parts of the county. It is also important to point out, however, that a decision to cull a significant number of such projects could generate a need to consider the closure and/or downsizing of entire parks or cultural facilities. That is because at some point, the need to repair buildings and structures and properly pave parkways, trails, and walkways cannot be avoided without threatening public safety.”

It seems that our politician’s incessant neglect of the vital maintenance needs of our County Parks now provides the rationale to potentially close or downsize entire parks.

The mere suggestion of this is an outrage!  Pure and simple.

Of course, predictable community consequences of closing parks were not studied or mentioned in WPF’s report. The suggestion that we close or downsize parks ignores widespread research about parks’ measurable benefits. Returns on investments in public parks cannot be overstated and include, improved community physical and mental health, increased property-tax base, environmental resilience, civic pride and rationale to live or invest in Milwaukee County.

While this report recieved scant media attention for its "logically?" perverse assumption that parks be downsized or closed, we believe this idea has to be erased from civic memory, never to return. 

Our parks, now more than ever, deserve to be funded with a dedicated funding source, separate from the County. One that can stand on its own without the threat of depletion due to the finances of County Government!

If you agree, please let your elected officials, at both the County and State level know, NOW IS THE TIME!  We, the citizens of Milwaukee County, demand it!