Theodore Lipscomb
Press Release

43 County Park Properties At Risk Because They Lack Local Zoning Protection

Chairman Lipscomb Introduces Resolution To Protect Parks and Parkland That Could Be Sold by County Executive Without Public Hearing or Legislative Oversight

By - Jan 27th, 2016 09:54 am
Cathedral Square Park during Bastille Days. Photo by Dori (dori@merr.info). Licensed under the  <a href='http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/deed.en'>Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0</a>

Cathedral Square Park during Bastille Days. Photo by Dori (dori@merr.info). Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Milwaukee County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr. has introduced a resolution that supports the protection of Milwaukee County parks and parkland, opposes the sale of any parks lacking the designated zoning as parkland, and seeks to rezone them to protect them from sale.

“Milwaukee County residents place a high value on their parks and public access,” Lipscomb said. “The County Board is acting to protect our ‘emerald necklace’ from sale by the Executive. Our parks are too important to be left to the whims of an Executive who does not value them. Our park system is a legacy that we must protect for future generations.”

The resolution also requests the Parks Department and Corporation Counsel to seek immediate parkland rezoning of identified park properties.

“There are dozens of parks properties that could be sold today by the County Executive without legislative oversight due to legislation he sought in Madison when he sold Park East land for $1 to the Milwaukee Bucks,” Lipscomb said.

“Act 55, the state legislation that granted the County Executive the authority to sell any Milwaukee County land that is not zoned as parkland, included provisions where the Executive received new authority to sell land without a public process or legislative oversight. This characterizes the way in which the Executive has sought power with no regard for the consequences. People will be shocked when they see the list of 43 properties that could be sold.”

Lipscomb said the Executive “could not take the high ground on parks protection,” having sought the power to sell land without a public hearing or legislative oversight.

“The County Board is still trying to get its arms around the implications of Act 55,” he said. “But what we do know is that there are at least 43 properties that could be sold without oversight, a public hearing or legislative oversight today.”

The current list of properties at risk are: Chippewa Park; Red Arrow Park; Cathedral Square Park; Zeidler Union Square; Mitchell Boulevard Park; Mitchell Airport Park; Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum; Grobschmidt Park; Franklin Park; Oakwood Park; Whitnall Park; Sheridan Park; Brown Deer Park; Greene Park; Estabrook Park; Pere Marquette Park; Froemming Park; Lincoln Park; Rawson Park; Melody View Preserve; Riverside Park; Bay View Park; Grant Park; Kohl Park; Lake Park; Armour Park; Runway Dog Park; Servite Park Reserve; Wilson Recreation Center; Joseph-Lichter Park; Juneau Park; St. Martins Park; Algonquin Park; Doctors Park; Hanson Park, A.C.; Southwood Glen; Baran Park; County Grounds Park; Kletzsch Park; Falk Park;  Rover West; Scout Lake Park; and Big Bay Park.

The resolution will be considered by the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations on Friday, January 29.

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5 thoughts on “43 County Park Properties At Risk Because They Lack Local Zoning Protection”

  1. Patty says:

    I’m surprised that these 43 very obvious parks are not already designated as “parkland.” How did that happen?

  2. Dennis says:

    So this is why Chris Abele and his “friends” are donating to so many City Council candidates!

  3. AG says:

    Just the other day the county board was 1 vote away from ending a Wangard apartment project because the board president wanted unnecessary details on a private transaction and another board member wanted information on minority owned businesses that the developer didn’t have. That dysfunction is why Abele is forced to try to circumvent the board.

    Sounds like these parks should be zoned parkland anyway, so this resolution is a good idea. But don’t use this as another excuse to whine about the county executive having to work around a dysfunctional county board.

    And Patty brings up an excellent question, how are these parks not zoned parkland? Is there more to this?

  4. AG says:

    Sorry I meant past chairwoman Dimitrijevic… not sure why I called her past president.

  5. M says:

    Patty, Yes, it does raise some big questions. Nearly all major parks within downtown Milwaukee are on this list (except the virtually unused MacArthur Square (or is that a city-owned park?).

    This is not far-fetched. O’Donnell Park was almost sold off/out up for bid several times since 2014, even though part of it is protected by being zoned parkland.

    In NYC about 15 years ago the city decided to start trying to sell off neighborhood parks and community gardens that had not been appropriately protected. A court injunction slowed that down and forced a deliberative process, community-impact studies etc.

    Despite all the local citizens who value parks and participate in parks friends groups, etc. few Milwaukee leaders (of any type, except some on the county board) champion parks. Abele’s on a mission to unload them and is mad his plans have been thwarted. Such sell-offs/sweetheart deals could start happening in a heartbeat. The Bucks owners had proposed gobbling up Pere Marquette for their arena, and that could have easily been finagled, like all the other giveaways.

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