Alert: County Board to vote on casting off Kulwicki Park (please pass the word…)

Please pass the word about this unprecedented attempt to start unraveling Milwaukee County Parks—a 77-year-old system…Post, forward, contact county supervisors through the link below…

We’re playing Wack-A-Mole here and Chris Abele has no qualms about slicing and dicing public assets including parks. A park system is greater than the sum of its parks! (This hearing will be one day before the anniversary of the board voting to Keep O’Donnell Park Public.)

Dear Friends of Our Parks:

County Executive Chris Abele and the County Parks Department propose to lease Kulwicki Park to the City of Greenfield in a 30-year management and development deal. Kulwicki’s 28 acres on Highway 100 and Coldspring Road include ball fields and a pavilion.

Sup. Gerry Broderick, the Parks Committee chair, several other supervisors, and Preserve Our Park all oppose this deal. This “takeover” agreement will set a dangerous precedent and put this and other parks at risk. Broderick says “It could ultimately unravel the Emerald Necklace of our county parks of which we are so proud.” No county park has been given to a municipality to manage in entirety.

Broderick and others believe the hidden agenda of Abele and others intent on dismantling county government is to rid the county of most of its assets, including parks. (Abele has tried multiple times to sell O’Donnell Park for redevelopment. The state has mandated that the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts be taken over by a state-chartered corporation, and Abele has put forth plans to privatize the zoo, airport and other assets.)

The rationale for handing over Kulwicki Park is that Greenfield has pledged to care for it better than the county has been doing. Nonetheless, the same case could be made for ALL county parks, which have been underfunded for decades. However, turning them back to municipalities would undo efficiencies and other public benefits gained since they became part of one system in 1938. There’s a well-reasoned push to INCREASE consolidated services among municipalities; cutting loose parks is a move in the opposite direction.

Other potential pitfalls of municipalities controlling individual parks are that they could become susceptible to restricted use, inequitable pricing of services, sell-offs to developers, dubious sublet agreements and other abuses of parks and the public trust. Broderick notes that the City of Greenfield already allowed the redevelopment of many former acres of Kulwicki.

Please contact your county supervisor by December 16th, by phone or email, and urge them to reject the handing over of Kulwicki Park. We need to solve the problems of our parks system as a whole, rather than through piecemeal, short-term tactics. Here’s how to find and contact your supervisor:

Thank you for your help.

Preserve Our Parks

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on December 11, 2015

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