Virginia Small

5 Cities With Model Parks Systems

Can Milwaukee learn lessons from them on how to fund its parks?

By - Jan 6th, 2017 03:36 pm
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Can Milwaukee learn lessons from them on how to fund its parks? Back to the full article.

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6 thoughts on “5 Cities With Model Parks Systems”

  1. Jerry says:

    So where on the list did Milwaukee appear?

  2. Jerry, Milwaukee appeared in the fourth paragraph at #27; $89/per capita.

  3. Jerry says:

    @Michael Horne – thank you for pointing that out.

    I’m surprised that Milwaukee was not higher up, even closer to #1 Minneapolis. The Lake Michigan lakefront is spectacular! Not to mention, the numerous other green spaces throughout the city.

  4. Our assets are considerable, but our operating funds are negligible. The spending per capita seems to be a good indicator. Minneapolis beats us by three to one.

  5. Virginia Small says:

    Jerry, a Chicago park foundation leader told me that 30 years ago advocates there used to look to Milwaukee’s park system as a model–before Chicago began major expansion and improvements to its system. This person, who visits here often and greatly appreciates the city, strongly believes Milwaukee’s park system can regain its former glory with sufficient effort and investment from both public and private sources.

    Also, historian Joseph Rodriquez wrote in “Bootstrap New Urbanism” that Milwaukee’s parks, even in a neglected state, have played a major role in repopulating the city in recent decades (in contrast to cities with fewer parks). Everyone wants to live near a park. He said that improving their functioning would pay back even greater economic and tax-base dividends.

  6. Steve Walton says:

    Milwaukee parks and parkways were a model when developed as part of the City Beautiful movement during the Progressive Era (See the section on the Clas Study from Bruce’s, https://books.google.com/books?id=iEEVAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA481&lpg=PA481&dq=milwaukee+City+beautiful&source=bl&ots=Codm2ashIT&sig=wDxYy7R8ctkXPTyFBflPyDdNg-c&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiul9vHvJfZAhVD3GMKHXHcBNQQ6AEIQDAD#v=onepage>History of Milwaukee, City and County [1922] 1: 482+).

    Growing up in the 70s and 80s, parks were always well-kept and pavilions, etc.were clean and even the inevitable carvings of “AB+BC 4ever” were just painted into the fabric each spring. I was surprised to be back a couple years ago (I live in MI now) to find the same parks partly overgrown for lack of regular mowing and all the BBQs taken out and almost no trash cans (presumably to save on park workers which I understood came in in the Walker era?). And while Bradford Beach seems the same (though through the semi-pro volleyball circuit contributions?), the others I knew were sad to see.

    Interestingly here in MI we have the State Park entry permit ties to your car registration ($11/yr, as I recall) and it lets you into all State Parks. Most everyone I know gets it for just our one local State Park, but then my little town also voluntarily passed a new recreation millage because we knew it was to be used to improve our own town. So as the problem in my fair home city seems to be the city-state bloodletting, let the people themselves decide if they want a ridiculously minimal millage to support the county parks?

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