Meeting to save Milwaukee County Parks on Thursday

In discussions about Milwaukee County Parks, you’ve probably heard big and troubling numbers — like $500 million. That’s how much deferred maintenance has piled up.

Maybe you’ve noticed the bathrooms at your neighborhood pavilion are no longer in service or the grass has gotten a little long. “Mowing the grass is something that’s gone onto the back burner,” acknowledged Adam Carr, Director of Strategic Partnerships with Milwaukee Parks Foundation. “Not because that’s the will — that’s just because of the circumstances.”

And Carr added that those circumstances have the county heading toward a fiscal cliff. “In five years if things don’t change, we’ll run out of tax dollars to support our parks. That’s a reality. So in five years we might look at this moment and say — ‘Why didn’t we do something? ‘”

Thursday at 6 pm is your chance. You’ll learn some background on the budget, but the important part of the virtual event, is looking at next steps. That’s where your ideas for funding come in, because the county executive says, traditional routes are tapped out.

“When we think about the scale of the problem, no — we can’t raise property taxes. We’d have to raise them over 40% in order to fix many of the financial issues that we have,” explained Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “We can ask for shared revenue from the state level, but that’s (going to require) about a 400% to 600% increase.”

Thursday night’s virtual conversation about the financial future of Milwaukee County Parks will be hosted by Milwaukee County Parks and Milwaukee Parks Foundation. You can find information on how to join on their website.

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