Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors
Press Release

Milwaukee County Supervisors Introduce Measure to Repair O’Donnell Park

Resolution Calls for Request for Proposals, Creation of Task Force to Develop Vision for Park Site

By - Jan 12th, 2015 02:39 pm

Milwaukee County Supervisors Patricia Jursik, Gerry Broderick and Jason Haas have introduced a resolution that will issue a request for proposals to repair leakage issues at O’Donnell Park while creating a seven-member “O’Donnell Activation Task Force” chaired by James Guolee, executive director of Park People.

The task force is to identify funding sources that not only utilize revenue generated from O’Donnell, but all new funding sources to accommodate all necessary improvements to the facility and park. The resolution calls on the task force to:

  • Recommend aesthetic improvements to the park plaza, and working with the Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Culture to open the Wisconsin Avenue entrance to be functional for public use on a consistent basis;
  • Work with the DPRC to provide additional concessions services at the park, including a feasibility analysis for a beer garden for seasonal operation, and the merits of concerts during the summer months to draw additional visitation and tourism to the area;
  • Development of a further vision of the Task Force that maximizes the usefulness of the Park for benefit of the surrounding constituencies including the War Memorial Center, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, the neighboring businesses surrounding O’Donnell Plaza, the neighboring parks, and Park Friends Groups.

“Now that the County Board has decided not to sell O’Donnell Park to Northwestern Mutual, it’s time to move forward with a vision that includes not only necessary repairs to the structure but to determine how to make the park more user-friendly and aesthetically appealing,” Jursik said. “This plaza has been neglected for too long by two different administrations, and we need to move forward with this new vision.”

Broderick said that O’Donnell Park was a “poster-child for deferred maintenance.”

“This plaza, along with so many of our parks, has become a victim of deferred maintenance,” Broderick said.

“We can start repairing the damage and neglect by coming up with a plan to improve this valuable piece of real estate on Milwaukee’s beautiful lakefront.”

Haas said he supported the measure because “O’Donnell Park has a chance to be a downtown showcase.

“This park should be one of the jewels of Milwaukee County, yet lack of maintenance has made it an example of what happens under a policy of neglect,” Haas said.

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