County proposes new lakefront parking fee, increase in other fees in 2017 budget

Posted at 5:05 PM, Aug 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-11 00:18:28-04

MILWAUKEE -- To make up for lost revenue, the Milwaukee County Parks and Recreation Department is proposing a pay-to-park system at the lakefront.

But it's not the only idea up for discussion. There are about 30 different county park fees that could increase under this proposal.

This is all to make up for a $2.5 million budget gap within the Parks and Rec department due largely to the fact that the county lost parking revenue when it sold O'Donnell Park to the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Bob Schultz says he plays golf at the Lincoln Park course about twice a month.

"It's an old folks course," he said. "It's not Brown Deer, it's not Oakwood, you don't have to hit the ball 300 yards."

Under the parks department budget proposal, fees at some county golf courses would increase, but not by much.

A 9-hole weekday round at Champion and Executive courses along with the Lincoln Course would all increase by one dollar.

That would bring in an estimated $5,500.

"That's fine," said Schultz. "It's cheap already and 12 bucks is still cheap."

The parks department also proposes raising fees to reserve county tennis courts.

The adult fee would increase from six dollars to $10 at all county courts, bringing in more than $10,000 in revenue.

Youth fees to reserve courts would also increase from three dollars to five dollars, adding an estimated $3,700.

Fees to rent park equipment for special events like picnic tables and trash cans would also increase under this proposal.

But the idea to make people pay to park at the lakefront would bring in an estimated $1.5 million in revenue.

This would affect parking along Lincoln Memorial Drive, the McKinley Park parking lot, Lagoon Drive and easternmost lot in Veterans Park, North Point parking lot, Bradford Beach lot and the easternmost Lake Park parking lot.

"That's not a real good idea because we have a lot of low income people that come down and enjoy the lake," said Carl Trimble, who plays tennis near the lakefront. "I think that would discourage them from doing so."

The county board of supervisors plans to hold public meetings in September to discuss these proposals but no official dates have been set.