2/13 Update: Plan is dead. Thanks to everyone who spoke up on this issue. Your voices were heard. And good call, County Executive Abele. Now let’s get to work solving the bigger problem of parks funding, together.
I’ve been asked a lot about this lately: Where do I stand on paying to park in parks?
The short answer: I oppose it, and have made that view known.
The longer answer: While I oppose it, I hate it when people say “no” to things without offering their own solution to the underlying problem — the problem in this case being inadequate funding for parks and the need for more parks revenue.
So I suggest we stop talking about parking fees, take a step back as a Milwaukee County community, and figure this out. Together.
With that in mind, the South Milwaukee Common Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing charging for parking in parks last week. As you can read, the city objects for two primary reasons: its potential to limit access to the parks, and the potential for detrimental impacts on neighborhoods surrounding the parks.
We join with many others in opposing this.
But the resolution adds …
And, recognizing that there are ongoing issues with funding of county parks, we further ask that county leaders consider convening a task force of key stakeholders to discuss and recommend solutions to enhance park revenues that do no limit access or negatively impact the communities in which county parks reside – solutions that should not include parking fees.
In other words, saying no to parking fees for parks is not enough. It does nothing to address the larger issue. Let’s do that.
In communicating with county leaders on this issue in recent weeks, I asked them to consider creating a task force to spend some time exploring alternative revenue sources. I repeated that call when this topic was addressed at today’s Intergovernmental Cooperation Council meeting, the monthly gathering of the county’s 19 mayors, village presidents, and the Milwaukee County executive. At that meeting, upwards of a dozen potential funding ideas were floated in just a 30-minute conversation on this issue. And that’s just the start.
Our parks need money outside of the property tax levy. That is clear. Parking fees are not the right solution.
Let’s get smart, passionate people together to find those solutions.