Last week, the Park People Board, a local advocacy group, called to create a parks district that was independent of county government. This proposal came after the firing of Milwaukee County Parks Director Sue Black.
The group believes the county can't afford the parks anymore, and therefore, The Park People asked that an elected board be granted the authority to tax so the parks wouldn't have to compete with other county services for tax dollars.
This is an interesting proposal. Personally, I spend a lot of time in parks, but mostly because I have children who, like all children, love a playground.
I often find the parks to be under-utilized, which surprises me because Milwaukee has so many beautiful green spaces that don't charge admission. It's free entertainment. ("Free" entertainment for those of us paying taxes, of course.)
I agree with The Park People that many of the parks need some maintenance because of recent tax cuts, but I really don't think the parks are in terrible shape, nor that beautifying the parks would bring that many more people into the parks system.
From my perspective, people just don't seem to go to parks as much in Milwaukee as they do in other cities. Maybe it's fear of crime. Maybe it's our less-nature-centered entertainment lives that are more focused on bars and restaurants.
In any case, I really wonder what, if anything, would get people to go to the county parks? More beer gardens like the one at Estabrook Park? Updated playgrounds? Off-leash dog areas? Anything, anything at all?
I disagree, totally, with the characterization of the parks as underutilized. I also believe that those whom feel the need to say that we should do more for the parks should very much do this. Organize and activate the communities around these parks. Start a friends group. Go and get this group to do some of the maintenance that they believe the parks need. Can't do it? Collect funds and donate it to the county to do the repairs that one wants. What holds people back from doing this?
I suggest allowing food trucks to vend in parks with more ease and less politics :).
I don't think parks need improvements. People today are just too conditioned to need constant stimulation. The idea of just....sitting....at a picnic table or on a blanket or simply....walking... on a quiet path isn't something that people today can fathom.
That aside, the parks in my area - Humboldt and Wilson are always packed with people jogging, picnicing, walking and sunning. Where are these parks that are supposedly underutilized? 'Cuz they're not in my area!
How about more low tech exercise areas for adults, with quarter mile jogging tracks and anchored exercise stations? In winter, flood a large area for use as a skating rink and open a hot beverage concession in the pavilion. Clean up the pavilions and restrooms--when I was a kid many park buildings had a janitorial person/attendant on duty during the day, plus a concession stand staffed by a real person. Taxes were lower then, yet the level of service in public accommodations was much higher. Go figure!
4 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published April 25, 2015
When the Rolling Stones came to Milwaukee in 2005, drummer Charlie Watts needed work done on the heel of his boot. He took it to be repaired by Peter Gerasopoulos, a legendary local cobbler who runs a shop, simply called Cobbler Shoe Service, at 827 W. Oklahoma Ave.
Published April 24, 2015
Wisconsin native Holly De Ruyter recently completed the documentary "Old Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club." The film is now available for purchase and will be screened in Milwaukee later this year.
Published April 18, 2015
Laurent Marin learned the art of tattooing by practicing on his own skin while growing up in Grenoble, France. Today, he co-owns Old Salt Tattooers in Bay View.
Published April 18, 2015
There are a plethora of vehicles that offer unique ways to explore Milwaukee, from the Pedal Tavern to a Segway to a seven-seat bike. Shlomo Levin is the owner of Milwaukee Seven Seat Bike Tours, a seasonal business that takes riders on city adventures via a "conference bike."
Published April 17, 2015
La Masa Empanada Bar will soon open on Brady Street in the former World of Beer location, 1300 E. Brady St.
Published April 16, 2015
According to an employee, Mama's Italian Cuisine, 7718 W. Burleigh St., will close this Sunday after dinner service.
Published April 16, 2015
Milwaukee is a mural-iffic city featuring murals of all sizes in many different parts of the city. Some do a better job incorporating the architectural elements of the given space than others, but all of them are colorful and conspicuous.
Published April 14, 2015
Husband-and-wife team Rita and Al Hill opened Biggie Subs & Deli Shop, 6602 W. Lisbon Ave., on April 1.
Published April 13, 2015
Tuesday, April 14 is officially (or unofficially) 414 Milwaukee Day - which represents a movement dedicated to celebrating the city by way of our area code. Here are numerous ways to enjoy the day.
Published April 12, 2015
The world's first Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum will open in Milwaukee and the curators recently announced its first, temporary location.