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Milwaukee Group Calls on Lawmakers to Fund Public Parks

Brian Moore
Mitchell Park Domes

On Tuesday, Lake Effect talked to Guy Smith, the man tapped to be the new director of the Milwaukee County Parks Department. Smith talked about his vision for what is often referred to as the region’s “emerald necklace," the green space that benefits the quality of life here. But Smith and his department face challenges linked to the tight budget environment here. 

READ: New Director To Take On Leadership of Milwaukee County Parks

We built parks during the Great Depression. You go in park after park and find these projects from the WPA and CCC. Those great-grandparents of ours and grandparents who built the parks had less money than we do now. -Pat Jursik

One local organization believes it doesn’t have to be that way. The group known as Preserve Our Parks has mounted a petition drive, calling on lawmakers to establish a dedicated funding source for Milwaukee County Parks. The group is headed by Jim Goulee, and includes former County Supervisor Pat Jursik on its board.

Goulee says that the parks are on the verge of a budget crisis, with funding for public parks decreasing by $10 million over the last 35 years. The petition calls for "a stable, secure, sustainable funding source dedicated for support of parks," - something that the parks have been without for some time, says Jursik.

Jursik and Goulee joined Lake Effect's Mitch Teich in the studio to talk about the petition and the challenges facing public parks: