August 8, 2018 | Topics: Issues
An appeal from the board of Preserve Our Parks
Over the summer Preserve Our Parks launched “Our Turn,” a grassroots petition drive to protest the loss of funding for Milwaukee County parks. A series of town hall meetings were held around the county to inform the public and solicit signatures. The petition demands that County officials direct more funding to parks to repair and maintain the County’s parks and parkways.
Here is the backstory, from a POP press release:
“Our parks are in crisis,” says Jim Goulee, president of Preserve Our Parks. “The community has funded stadiums and arenas, and now it’s ‘our turn’ for parks funding. Our parks are a critical part of the quality of life in Milwaukee County. The parks and trails that make up our ‘emerald necklace’ must be preserved, enhanced and protected.”
Parks funding has drastically declined over the past three decades from about $45 million to about $34 million in the 2018 County budget. While the County budget has nearly doubled since 1986, parks funding has dropped to a level where it is only 4.2 percent of the County tax levy, down from 29 percent in1986.
It is important to apply pressure to County policy-makers as the 2019 capital and operating budgets are drafted by the County Executive and reviewed by the County Board. State lawmakers have worsened the situation by cutting shared revenue to local governments, and they have also placed onerous limits on how municipalities can increase their tax levies. The state has strapped local government and is the “main cause of deterioration of County facilities,” as stated by Goulee.
“We can’t let County and State officials cast a blind eye toward the continuing decay of our parks,” Goulee says. “We must make our voices heard so that our free and public parks are thriving not only in the present but for future generations.”
Preserve Our Parks held public “town hall” meetings throughout the summer to allow citizens to have their voices heard on the issue. Now the petition drive continues online.
Preserve Our Parks is a non-profit citizen action and watchdog group passionately devoted to the preservation, maintenance and enhancement of Milwaukee County’s beautiful emerald necklace. Founded in 1999, Preserve Our Parks is committed to attaining dedicated funding for parks to reverse the course of decline and neglect that has taken place over several decades. Preserve Our Parks actively seeks to make our parks preservation a high priority for County policy-makers, and it strongly opposes the sale or any conveyance that restricts the use and enjoyment of our free public parks.
A Wealth of Nature is a project of Preserve Our Parks.