Virginia Small

Will Some County Parks Be Closed?

Survey from Abele administration offers this as possible solution. But why?

By - Sep 7th, 2016 02:45 pm
Lake Park sign. Photo by Dave Reid.

Lake Park sign. Photo by Dave Reid.

A seven-page survey about Milwaukee County parks has triggered responses beyond the 4,000 randomly selected residents who recently received it by mail.

Besides seeking input about park usage, the questionnaire proposes “potential actions to reduce the size of the Milwaukee County parks system to match current available funding.” Specifically, it asks whether the county should close horticultural facilities, neighborhood parks, swimming pools, picnic shelters, pavilions, rental facilities, community centers, golf courses and marinas. Should the “number/size of some existing regional parks” be reduced? Should some open spaces, parkways or neighborhood parks be transferred to other governmental entities?

Parks-funding questions are also posed—whether to install parking meters in lakefront parks, raise taxes, increase user fees, or generate more income through business partnerships or fundraising.

Respondents are asked to indicate 201 preferences. The introduction says completion will take 10 to 15 minutes. Several people told me it took 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

Cheri Briscoe, recently retired chair of the Milwaukee County Parks Advisory Commission, faulted the questionnaire. “It is set up to justify selling and privatizing segments of our parks by forcing survey takers to make Hobson’s choices based only on the narrow needs of the individual doing the survey” she wrote in an email. “It reinforces the concept of a ‘me-first society,’ where the needs of others don’t matter.” Briscoe noted that it is “more likely to be filled out by retired people who have more time, rather than working people with kids,” thus creating distorted outcomes.

Parks Needs and Cultural Needs

Preserve Our Parks, an advocacy nonprofit, criticized the questionnaire in a media release. The group said questions addressing downsizing and financing “are preceded by inaccurate and misleading statements about deferred maintenance and the County’s budgetary restrictions, which includes figures for all parks and cultural facilities.”

The survey warns readers: “The annual budget for Milwaukee County Parks cannot cover all the maintenance needs of the Parks System, and the Public Policy Forum has estimated that parks and cultural facilities owned by Milwaukee County need approximately $250 million in capital investment to repair existing outdoor and indoor parks, trails, and other cultural and recreation facilities.” It says it “would require approximately $50 million in funding per year for the next five years.”

POP said these “misrepresentations” are “reckless and render the survey results on those issues of no value.” The referenced 2013 Public Policy Forum study reported deferred parks repairs totaling $83 million; the rest is for cultural “capital needs,” including optional facilities expansion. The survey does not address county-owned cultural institutions.

County parks director John Dargle, Jr. told me the survey is “just one component” to inform a 10-year parks master plan, a long-term parks-and-open-space blueprint, and accreditation his department is seeking. Dargle said the administration decided “not to leave anything off the table,” including possibly closing or severing parts of the system that encompasses 158 parks and 11 parkways.

Briscoe urges a more can-do vision: “We must all look at our Milwaukee County Parks as a quality-of-life resource for nearly a million people of different ages, family styles, interests and neighborhood cultures. We need a survey that inspires us to dream and do better rather than give up on ourselves as stewards of an important legacy.”

Planning the Questionnaire

The contract for PROS Consulting, Inc. of Indianapolis, which is coordinating the survey, says, “Prior to being administered, it will be reviewed by staff, the County Executive and the County Board of Supervisors.” However, both Dargle and board chair Theodore Lipscomb told me that the county board had not been shown survey questions. Dargle said staff from the executive’s office, administrative services, budget, and human resources departments were involved in planning the survey.

Preserve Our Parks noted that “significant defects in the survey” could have been curbed with board review, “which would also have allowed for public comment.” POP’s release noted that “This lack of public process is especially egregious” because survey results will be incorporated into long-range plans including one the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) will develop for parks and open spaces for the next three decades.

Some questions were apparently PROS’ boilerplate used for nationwide clients. (One indicator: Milwaukee’s survey, linked by the Journal Sentinel, is titled “City of Liberty, Missouri.” Oops. Another blooper referred to “detention ponds,” not retention ponds.)

When asked about whether surveys are customarily used to justify park closures, a representative of the City Parks Alliance, a national nonprofit, said in an email. “Other cities have done surveys but mostly to determine possible locations of new parks or alternate use of vacant space, not to close down” facilities.

Uncoupling Milwaukee County’s “Emerald Necklace”

Talk of unloading parks is not merely theoretical. The Abele administration has already been pursuing that strategy. The future of county parks, including Mitchell Park Conservatory, was a flashpoint issue in Abele’s re-election campaign. He repeatedly pledged he had no intention to sell parks.

Nonetheless, facilities can be closed or threatened with closure, which has happened with pools and other amenities. A facility’s fate then depends on whether citizens can mount a successful campaign to keep it, often through private fundraising. Neighborhoods with fewer resources sometimes simply lose out.

Additionally, Abele, who owns a commercial real-estate business, was granted power by the Legislature in 2015 to dispose of any county property not zoned parkland. He needs only the signature of another person with real estate ties within a respective municipality. The county comptroller’s nominal vote can be overridden by a hand-picked rubber-stamper.

It was learned that dozens of county parks lacked full parkland zoning, although municipalities are now reviewing their zoning. More germane is that Abele could dispose of thousands of acres of other county land not in named parks. Recently retired county supervisor Gerry Broderick said that includes Oak Creek and Franklin parcels the county acquired in recent decades for conservation and future parks.

O'Donnell Park. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

O’Donnell Park. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Abele has tried to sell or transfer parks and cultural assets since shortly after taking office. He quietly negotiated for two years with Northwestern Mutual for the insurer to buy O’Donnell Park for about a third of what taxpayers had invested in its construction. That plan left the public’s interests unprotected; the board narrowly rejected it in December 2014. A conservancy-type proposal by the nonprofit Milwaukee Art Museum, which will keep the lake-view park public, was approved in March. The museum will own the buildings with the county owning the land.

Earlier this year the board rejected a proposal for the City of Greenfield to lease and control Kulwicki Park for 30 years. Abele’s attempt to “dump” the county-owned campus of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts into the quasi-public Wisconsin Center District, which will oversee the new Bucks Arena, has been foiled till at least 2020.

Abele does not support a sales tax for dedicated parks funding. He doubts the GOP-controlled Legislature would enact it even though he has gotten that body to do his bidding on other issues. County residents approved an advisory referendum for a parks-and-transit sales tax in 2008, which the Legislature did not implement. Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce president Tim Sheehy told the county board’s economic development committee in June 2015 that the chamber would now support such a tax, after previously opposing it.

Closing vs. Expanding Parks

Since the mid-19th century, American parks have been created to serve the public forever–with protective legal covenants. Despite fiscal challenges, cities nationwide invariably are investing in parks, not shutting them down. Our era is often called a “renaissance in public spaces.”

Why is Milwaukee County thinking about closing or transferring parks? Dargle said, “Looking at ways to revamp, reorganize and reduce” is meant to help sustain the system.

Milwaukee County’s system has included about 15,000 acres for decades, although Broderick says park acreage per capita has declined. No research indicates the county has too many parks, trails and parkways. If anything, Milwaukee needs more parks, not fewer. According to the Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore® index, 12 percent of city residents (72,575) don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk (1/2 mile), the parks-access benchmark. TPL’s mapping shows Milwaukee’s greatest need for new parks in North Side and West Side neighborhoods. In contrast, nearly all residents from the East Side south to Bay View enjoy ready access to parks, trails and playgrounds.

What About Handing Off Parks?

Broderick, who chaired the county’s parks committee for years, fears negative outcomes if some municipalities acquire their parks while others cannot afford to do so. Broderick told me, “Spinning off parks would be short-sighted and create duplication, inefficiencies and a two-tier system of parks–for haves and have-nots.”

Unequal parks access is a national “environmental justice” issue. After Simone Manuel recently became the first African-American woman swimmer to win an individual Olympic gold medal, she said many blacks still don’t have access to pools. Seven swimming pools on Milwaukee’s North and West Sides have closed over the years. The county replaced Lincoln Park’s deep-well outdoor pool. There’s also an indoor pool at Noyes Park on the far northwest side (82nd and Good Hope). Washington Park has the only county pool on Milwaukee’s West Side.

Milwaukee County’s parks system was created in 1907; the city’s park commission was formed in 1889. Parks visionary Charles Whitnall developed the county’s master plan for a “necklace of green” in 1923 to meet existing and future needs. It specified neighborhood and regional parks, golf courses and connecting parkways. Much of the system was built through New Deal programs. Following a referendum with 3-to-1 in favor, the city and county consolidated their parks on January 1, 1937, reducing “considerable duplication in functions, services and equipment,” according to a county report.

Mailed surveys are due back September 9 and an online version will be posted in late September. Nine public workshops about parks planning will be held September 13 to October 5 throughout the county.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that all North Side county-run pools have closed.

Categories: Op-Ed, Real Estate

33 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Will Some County Parks Be Closed?”

  1. Max says:

    Is the idea of a Parks District still off the table?

  2. Virginia Small says:

    A parks district is not mentioned in this survey as an option. It’s a complicated issue and, like some others proposed in the survey, deserves more background than a sentence or two summary before an opinion is requested. It seems a parks district could not operate without designated funding, which most likely would require a sales tax or equivalent consistent allocation.

    A district was one option explored in a thorough study about how to fund the parks system completed by a team of county elected and appointed officials and others in the early 2000s. I reviewed a hard copy but have not seen it online. Maybe the county could post it among their planning docs.

  3. Rich says:

    Are there multiple surveys going around? This article talks about one administered by a company out of Indianapolis. I just completed the online response to one mailed to me from a company out of Olathe, KS.

  4. Gary says:

    I never could understand why a govt. entity was providing golf courses considering the highly specialized, narrow use, restrictions against other use in any season and high maintenance. Maybe the management of public courses is already outsourced? That would be a good thing, in my opinion.

  5. Virginia Small says:


    It’s just one survey. The County’s contract is with the Indianapolis firm (PROS), which uses a Kansas firm (ETC Institute) as a subcontractor to process the survey and possibly do follow-up phone calls.

  6. Pete Mingle says:

    Duh, Gary, the park system’s golf courses have been a reliable revenue producer for our cash-strapped parks. And you want to cut them out of the picture? What’s the matter with you–are you nuts? And for the average duffer like me, they’re also cheaper to play than private and country club courses. Why don’t you just admit it; you don’t think the little people need or deserve parks–or any of the amenities that should only be the exclusive domain of rich duffers. .

    Not all of us are like Abele. A billionaire’s boy can grow up in the equivalent of an Eden-like private back yard park. They have no appreciation of the needs of the rest of us for convenient public spaces for all to enjoy.

  7. Tom D says:

    Pete Mingle (post 6):

    Do County golf courses really make money for the parks, or are they (financially) net losses?

    How do County golf courses manage to undercut private ones? If the answer is that they are taxpayer-subsidized, then are they really “reliable revenue producers” or ongoing net expenses?

    Do you have any data to show that the County breaks even on golf courses, and if so, is this merely because County golf courses are tax-exempt (no property or sales taxes)?

  8. Rachel Lynn says:

    Instead of closing any parks, they ALL need improvement…citizens NEED outdoor space and beautiful nature surrounding them.

  9. Sean says:

    Instead of cutting funding from areas like the parks the real source of the deficit needs to be handled. The criminal justice system is costing the tax payers tons of money. If the county/ city could control the crime they could use some of the tax dollars to fund the parks. The “solutions” in this article would be a band-aide on a broken leg.

  10. The logic for closing the parks at sunset makes sense due to the history of crime pervading throughout our communities conducting criminal activities. Assembly and recreation activities are not denied due to the common sense recognizing the criminals and disruptors are more active during the night hours to offer cover for their predator activities. Signs could be posted with surveillance cameras to provide coverage for security but will only provide documentation for who is in the parks under the cover of darkness for reasons that bring suspicion for those who gather under the cover of darkness. We must face the reality and common sense there is no need for the parks be available after sunset. This is responsible guidance for the public. The airports around the world have shown the way to deal with the necessary guidance and surrvelance of safe environments. Malls have the same developments for creating safe environments. Schools are struggling with attaining the same safe environments. Drugs and violence are to be deterred for safe safe communities to evolve. Responsible public leadership is necessary for develop safe communities. The common sense issue is to put up signs parks close at sunset and create surrvelance for the parks for a safe environment. This will help deter some of the criminal activity conducting predatory activities under the cover of darkness to take advantage of the responsible citizens.
    Support responsible leadership that endorses the safety of communities. Close the parks at sunset.
    There is no need for the parks to be open after sunset.
    Perhaps it is time to turn the parks over to private organizations to develop safe environments?
    There needs to be leadership for creating safe environments.

  11. Vincent Hanna says:

    Are a lot of drug deals taking place after sunset in county parks?

  12. Rachel Lynn says:

    Our most fun in parks was going to the fruit stand, buying a couple of fresh watermelons that had been soaking in tubs of ice, putting them in wash tubs in the car trunk, and proceeding with several other families to cut them on newspaper lined picnic tables, eat them in hand, and spit the seeds at each other…the rinds and water-soaked newspapers were then left in the park’s trash barrels…family fun, good eating, and no trash to bring home.

    And this was done under the lights, no earlier than 8 or 9pm…

    Why do people always have to think that we need to be locked into our houses at dusk???

    And, by the way, my family is white. Black and brown families should be able to enjoy the parks just as I have…

  13. Pete Mingle says:

    Tom D, parks were never meant to “turn a profit.” They are quality-of-life infrastructure, not businesses. Programming revenue, such as from golf or other fees is a bonus that helps fund the system. Parks more than earn back their taxpayer “investments” by generating many economic and community benefits including increasing nearby property values. That’s been an accepted fact for 150 years (Check out City Parks Alliance for specifics).

    It’s empty conflation to compare public parks with private enterprise.

    Info about the amount of revenue the county’s golf courses generate to help support the whole system is easily found on the parks website or in PPF reports on the parks. The next-highest income generator was O’Donnell Park’s wisely located parking operation which was designed to affordably serve a need while earning income for the parks.

  14. PG1946 says:

    @Tom D,: I assume that, when you ask how “County public golf courses manage to undercut private ones,” you mean undercutting the user cost of private ones. In reality, public courses do not compete with private ones, since public and private courses tap different markets. In the case of public courses, that market consists of golfers who are either unable or unwilling to pay the multi-thousand-dollar initiation fees and annual membership dues of private golf courses. Those who can afford and wish to join private courses normally do so because they wish to enjoy differences from (less crowding on the links, amenities and luxuries, what they consider “a better class of people,” bars, lockers, steam rooms, and often tennis courts and pools). They do not and will not use pubic courses However, your point about determining whether the courses are an addition to or drain on parks budgets is well taken. If they are truly a good source of revenues, then we should consider hiking the fees in an amount that will not chase a significant number of golfers away from the courses. If the golf courses are, indeed, a drain on the parks budget -i.e., are not used by many, or if fees are too low–then either closing individual courses and/or hiking user fees considerably. But a check on the courses profits or losses or a simple audit would appear to be necessary.

    Regarding the idea that we should privatize some or all of the parks, I would respond in the negative. The notion that private corporations do things more efficiently and better than public entities has shown itself not to be true, at least if there is no continuing close oversight from government. If we look at privatization of prisons, water supply,and other municipal and state services, we will see that they have provided service inferior to that provided under public management. Much of this is the result of the manner in which contracts are awarded, that is, by non-competitive sweetheart deals, which usually reward political supporters, who are assured little, if any, oversight. The free market works when it is really free, with competition among bidders and changes in providers, should the first firm not perform satisfactorily. In practice, privatization contracts are rarely the result of competitive bidding, and contractors are rarely changed in response to poor performance, so that the market forces that are supposed to impose discipline on the contractor and assure a wise choice of providers are not present. In many cases, the public entity is left with maintenance costs and legal responsibility, while the contractor merely takes home assured profits.

    In any case, public parks and playgrounds present the most benefits to the least affluent and least entitled in the community, that is, those who need them most, are the first ones to be called on to sacrifice, and consequently bear the greatest societal costs already. We should not reduce this public amenity.

  15. Pete Mingle says:

    PG1946: You go, guy or gal! Truth to Power “trumps” ignorance.

  16. Cindy Van Vreede says:

    Some time ago, Milwaukee County votes actually voted to increase their taxes to pay for the parks in a non-binding referendum. The desire to keep our parks and upkeep them as well, is well documented. The county is trying to sell off assets to pay for other things. If they got rid of the parks, what would Sheriff Clarke and his men guard so well?

  17. The time for reevaluation of how parks will be funded and safe should be reviewed today along with private parks developong for more control and development. Perhaps some of the parks could be run privately as chosen by the community to have safety and development thus reducing the cost of managing the many parks. There would be funds for the public park parks due to down sizing public parks. There still would be the need for safety and surrevalance for responsible citizens.
    The sunset rule for parks to close would need to be enforced to increase safety. Many parks have no allowance for other activities such as out door barbecuing etc.
    The majority of Criminals prefer to operate under the cover of darkness to profit from their activities.
    Ideas worth sharing as many parks have the sunset rule the park closes. This is a common sense ordinance to protect the parks and citizens.

  18. Tom D says:

    Pete Mingle (post 13):

    I looked up how much golf brings in for the County. In 2014 (latest data I could find), golf’s reported surplus (golf revenue minus reported golf expenses) came to under $675,000—under 1.6% of total (non-zoo) park expenses.

    And, from what I can garner, those reported golf expenses exclude some major golf expenditures (grass mowing, building maintenance, and marketing/graphic design). I suspect if those costs were included, golf expenses might exceed golf revenue.

    Golf revenue and expenses does not include the golf pro shops which are included in the money-losing “Concession” budget item. (Park “concessions” lost over $267,000 in 2014. I found no breakout for the golf pro shops separate from the other park concessions.)

    I don’t suggest privatizing parks or eliminating County golf courses. I just suggest not claiming golf significantly subsidizes other park operations.

  19. Vincent Hanna says:

    “The majority of Criminals prefer to operate under the cover of darkness to profit from their activities.”

    I’ll ask again. Are criminals routinely dealing drugs and committing other crimes in county parks?

  20. Rachel Lynn says:

    Romualdas Stanenas

    Yes, let’s let the “community” fund a private park…a community is a public entity.

    Funding a private park, limited to a specific community has quite a ring to it…kind of recalls that word….what is it again?

    Oh, right. SEGREGATION

  21. Sean says:

    I don’t know necessarily that there are a lot of drug dealings happening late night in parks, but the assumption is for some reason and has always been that prowlers and criminals hang out in parks. Look at a basic horror movie, the victim usually wonders through a dark lit area, sometimes a park, only to be surprised by the villain lurking in the shadows. I think this fear goes back to the early 80s? when central park in New York was the center of couple national news stories involving crimes at night. I don’t think this is really something that Milwaukee needs to be concerned with. I however do agree that I have seen some shady folks in the park parking lots late at night but that’s probably more sex related than drug, and I have found paraphernalia in a park before but that can be purchased anywhere.

  22. The common sense of closing Sherman Park at sunset is shared with the criminal report of Sherman Park leading the national crime rate of US.
    Google the empirical data of crime for Sherman Park hosting the leadership of crime.

  23. Vincent Hanna says:

    @Romualdas Stanenas thanks for not answering the question, again. So should Sherman Park be closed at night or should all county parks be closed at night? Is there serious crime after dark in all county parks?

  24. Pete Mingle says:

    Tom, just stop it! Stop it! Stop it!

    Parks and their public amenities are NOT ABOUT PROFIT AND LOSS.

    My point is only that golf courses are among the sources of earned revenue contributing to Milwaukee County Parks’ GENERAL FUND.

    It’s too bad that Civics is so poorly (or not at all) taught in our schools these days. You could have learned a little about the general welfare and well-being of citizens in a healthy functioning modern democracy.

  25. Dave Reid says:

    @”Pete Mingle” Tom D clearly stated this: “I don’t suggest privatizing parks or eliminating County golf courses. I just suggest not claiming golf significantly subsidizes other park operations”

  26. tom D says:

    Pete Mingle,

    I’m not asking that County golf courses make money. I’m just asking that you not claim that golf subsidizes other park expenses.

    Even if you just look at golf revenue (ignoring the salaries of all those employed at those courses and the costs of maintaining those courses), the actual amount of revenue isn’t that big. County bus fares bring in FAR more, for example, but nobody has ever argued that we should preserve bus service just for the (much more substantial) fare revenue it brings in.

  27. Virginia Small says:

    RE: safety and parks noted by several, their design an maintenance can play a role in creating sage parks:

    Frequent activity in a park, both planned and unplanned, tends to make a park safer. For example, “Program the Parks” and Boys & Girls Clubs activities in Sherman Park engage young people in positive programming in the park:

    A parks programming series in LA:

  28. gerry broderick says:

    In regard to issues raised concerning county golf courses, it is important to understand that revenues raised through golf have in the past provided as much as 40% of park revenues, which in turn support a host of other park services. Parks were never intended to be a source of revenue, but rather to offer to all citizens a healthy and balanced respite from the congested and sometimes chaotic downsides of urban existence. The voters back in 2008 confirmed their belief in the value of parks by choosing to impose greater taxes upon themselves. Unfortunately, the MMAC had a very different agenda and lobbied actively to prevent the state from authorizing the tax THE PEOPLE had approved. Imagine what the half cent tax for parks and half cent tax for transit needs would have done to correct today’s dire circumstances in both areas. That authorization would also have reduced local property taxes, by shifting park and transit funding to a sales tax, thus putting an appropriate share of the operating costs on non-county users of those services. I guess the central question for me is who is calling the shots in this “representative” democracy? The people? Or special interest oligarchs?

  29. The budgets are changing and government will need to review the various options for parks as the state parks and camp sites and other parks are charging the public for well maintained and safe environments. There has never been free parks since they have been funded by taxes. The options are simple. Sell some of the parks to private companies to maintain with existing tax dollars in place or sell the parks for development or raise the taxes. Other wise with raising costs of labor and insurance and products there will need to be a higher tax to support the budgets . Review the example how roads are maintained. Partial funding exists from various sources. Parks have no value when they are not safe and functional therefore a vote of the majority will be necessary with various proposals presented to the decision makers for alternatives. The Sherman Park area is presently the leader in crime and can be changed. Recently a grant of $900,000.00 was awarded to support providing a safe
    area. The empirical data of crime in parks exist and how parks regained safe environments and functionality. The cost is evident and how much it cost and how it will be funded is now the issuse. Similar to the lead pipe laterals supplying poor quality of water for Milwaukee’s families.
    There are methods for redesigning the poor infrastructures failing due to aging and changing communities. There are answers and methods of having what every community desires but it will need to be funded. Let us begin the search and review the best method to support safe and functional parks. There are solutions and costs with trade offs. Nothing is for free. Ask the public and they will agree and simply make the decision if they believe it is worth the cost to them based on the majority.
    Some people will use common sense and not go to the parks at night. The parks maybe available only during the day from 6 am to sunset.
    Many parks have ordinances set up to support their parks but with various limitations. This would be a logical first step and move on from there as various proposals continue to evolve to fund more safe and functional parks.

  30. Jason says:

    We have a significant lead pipe crisis in Milwaukee County that effects young minorities lives and people want to squabble over a golf course closing.

  31. Pete Mingle says:

    Jason (comment # 31)–

    OK, I admit it. I’m an inveterate idealist who believes we have, in the 21st Century, the social/economic/technical/political wherewithal to create a city/county that provides both clean water to drink and parks to play in or take refuge from our toils.

    Wise Elder Gerry Broderick’s words aptly capture the state of our Dis-Abele-d local democracy.

  32. Gloria Wills says:

    Platitudes from county executives like making “dreams and doing better,” make me wary, disenchanted, and even offended, every time I hear it. This lingo seems to be the mantra for Chris Abele, Grief Enterprises and Newaukee when they talk about disposing my public resources.

    I advocate for respecting the legacy of our successful ancestors and preserving our parks. Obviously without experienced elders leaving a record, humans would not survive. Let’s stop disparaging preservation of our hard won public wealth.

    New and better is over rated, especially when considering the brain trust of some of our local developers, and PR firms who excel at getting lucrative contracts to build and promote questionable NEW government projects.
    Newer is not always smarter, better, cleaner, more beautiful, or easier to use. Often NEW stuff is just more expensive, has inferior materials, brings more debt and gives a cozy contract for some contractor.
    To county leaders, I ask, Please stop spouting the “bigger better dream” rhetoric when you are trying to take away my public resources. Milwaukee county voters are not children to be placated with smarter more sophisticated double talk.

    A debate over benefits of reflecting the past vs. projecting the future is ultimately a matter of preference; obviously without a past there is no future. County leaders need to offer a vision, instead of vague talk about dreams and dire plans to offload our great parks as deadwood of the past. Milwaukee County let’s hear fiscally sound positive ideas instead of talk about tearing stuff down.

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