Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Crowley Touts New Era for Parks Spending

County Executive signs $500,000 funding for parks using proceeds from new sales tax.

By - Feb 28th, 2024 05:11 pm

County Executive David Crowley and Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson hold up signed resolution. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley signed legislation Wednesday providing $500,000 for park projects and workforce spending.

The funding, although just a small piece of the overall Milwaukee County Parks budget for 2024, was made possible by the new 0.4% countywide sales tax that went into effect in January.

The new sales tax came thanks to a lobbying effort by the city and county for legislative authority from the state to generate additional revenue and reform the pension systems that were dragging on the budgets of both governments. The additional revenue provided the county with the first budget surplus in decades.

“And what that means is that rather than determining what cuts will be least harmful to this community, it gave us an opportunity to look at what investments can we actually make to deploy the most beneficial investments for all of our residents within Milwaukee County,” County Executive Crowley said during the signing event at Tiefenthaler Park.

The Milwaukee County Board earmarked the funding in the 2024 budget and asked Milwaukee County Parks to return to them with a plan to spend the money. Parks developed a list of ideas it’s calling “high-impact” projects, which the department can implement quickly and be recognized by county residents this year.

Tiefenthaler Park in Midtown received one of the larger allocations in the package: $100,000. Parks will use the funding to turn a wading pool into a splash pad and upgrade lighting and pathways throughout the park. The upgrades are intended to enhance the upgrades already made at the park by the Kellogg Peak Initiative, which essentially turned a park pavilion into a community center.

With the rest of the funding, Parks will stripe tennis courts and basketball courts, open free picnic areas, upgrade kitchen equipment at park pavilions, put new turf down in Walker Square Park and purchase new fitness equipment for King Park and Kosciuszko Community Centers, as Urban Milwaukee previously reported.

“These transformative projects are poised to activate public spaces, ensure safety and expand recreational opportunities,” County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson said.

Implementing the additional funding from the budget surplus “marks a significant moment in our journey towards making the world become healthier,” Nicholson said. “As we gather here to celebrate, we acknowledge the important role that activating our green and recreational spaces play in improving our community’s well-being.”

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.

Categories: MKE County, Parks, Politics

One thought on “MKE County: Crowley Touts New Era for Parks Spending”

  1. gerrybroderick says:

    Good to see a this dent put in the county park’s half billion dollar deferred maintenance deficit, but a long, long way to go.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us