Progress on Park Arthur, which is situated along Muskego's northern border between College Avenue and Martin Drive, has been steady, but after hearing complaints from residents that projects like the park never seem to get finished, it may now be on a fast track, courtesy of $1.1 million in funding.
Discussion of the park expenditures for 2013 were a part of the city's ongoing budget talks Wednesday night, and initially totaled $881,000, with that amount using the landfill funds. The parks department has historically used those funds along with other sources to develop and maintain the parks, however, dwindling resources may result in the city taking on more of the burden.
The costs would include $245,000 to design and construct an entrance off of College Avenue, $406,000 to add lights to the large baseball field and sledding hill, and completing the other three baseball fields for $145,000. Alderman Neome Schaumberg also requested that a pavilion planned several years out be included in the 2013 number, increasing the total by $300,000.
"I'm seeing a lot of things that will draw the public to this park in the next year or so, but we aren't providing appropriate restroom facilities for years after that? I think it should be part of this plan."
Alderman Dan Soltysiak told parks director Craig Anderson, "I know we've been careful in using only certain revenue sources to fund the parks, but there's a need to look at things differently. Let the council decide on how parks is funded; we want to hear your ideas - it doesn't mean we'll approve them all, but we should hear them."
However, Alderman Neil Borgman was adamantly opposed to the spending, even prior to the $300,000 addition.
"We have a great park at Idle Isle, and a citizen's group that has done a yeoman's job of cleaning it up, yet I see nothing in the budget to help them out. I would prefer to see this spending spread out over four years, and putting more into Idle Isle" he said.
However, other aldermen felt that input received from the public during the last lake park debate indicated that residents felt the Park Arthur project wasn't getting finished, and delaying it several more years wasn't a good idea. In addition, without a specific list of projects to spend money on, most were not comfortable writing a 'blank check' for Idle Isle park.
"We reached out to people who had made complaints - Craig Anderson and I - and we called them to ask them specifically what they wanted to see improved at Idle Isle and we got nothing," explained Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti.
Anderson also pointed out that they generally see a partnership from Muskego Athletic Association and has gotten interest from select leagues to help offset the costs. He pointed out that outfield fencing was also being covered by Muskego Youth Baseball club, with fundraising at $69,000 of the $82,000
The preliminary straw poll saw most in favor of the $1.1 million price tag, with Borgman and Alderman Eileen Madden, who said she felt they shouldn't spend that much in one year, casting a no vote.
Additional park improvements that were approved for the budget include:
Recreational trails - Culver's to Woods Road along Racine Avenue; Racine Avenue to Mercury Drive along Janesville Road: $450,000
- replacement of fencing at all three ballfields, replacement of bleachers: $55,000
- replacement of the ADA fishing pier: $63,000; may also be eligible for grant monies
- installation of concrete ramp and new piers, which is expected to be offset by 50 percent funding of a waterways grant: $50,000
// - repaving of basketball courts: $30,000
- replacement of skateboard ramp laminate and addition of a sand volleyball court: $25,000
- regrading and replanting of grass, paving asphalt paths to bathrooms from trail: $13,700
Items not making the cut:
Shop improvements at the Parks and Rec building, estimated at $73,429
A Bobcat to remove snow from recreational trails: $55,800