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Partnerships could be the key to maintaining the Milwaukee County Parks' infrastructure

Trees along Lake Michigan in Milwaukee
Dave Jonasen
Adobe Stock
Trees along Lake Michigan in Milwaukee.

For many, the Milwaukee County Parks System is a natural oasis where people can reconnect with nature and connect with the community. But for decades, the parks system has been unable to mend its aging infrastructure, and despite a better outlook in the most recent county budget, there is still a lot that needs to be done.

A recent report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, titled "Natural Partners: How Local Collaboration Could Help Fix the Milwaukee County Parks," explores how different partnerships could help the parks system maintain its infrastructure.

Staffing for the parks has steadily decreased over the last few decades, while spending has remained mostly consistent. And with future projects on the horizon that far exceed current revenue, the park system will need to find ways to increase revenue quickly.

Jason Stein, research director for the forum, points to possible solutions, such as creating an independent park district to levy an independent tax while retaining county ownership and administration of the parks.

Meanwhile, he says, Milwaukee County could also pursue partnerships with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and local school recreation departments to share maintenance responsibilities.


Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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