'Indoor park' planned for Wauwatosa

Posted at 11:04 AM, Oct 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 13:38:24-04

A Wauwatosa businesswoman is hoping to give families in the Quarry Heights neighborhood a new entertainment option during the cold winter months.

Kerry Krienitz owns a building on 62nd and State - which already houses Central Bark Doggy Daycare.

She now hopes to convert 20,000 square feet of empty space in the same building into an indoor park.

The mother of two boys, ages two and four, said it's often difficult finding ways to entertain children during Milwaukee winters. 

"Winter makes for a very difficult time to find things for them to do, and to get them out of the house," Krienitz said.

Krienitz said the indoor park, named Village Park, would cost somewhere between $500,000 and $1 million to put together.

"Right now we're trying to get funding together, we're working with banks, hoping some investors will be interested," she said.

The park would include play equipment for kids, along with a coffee shop, stage area, and sports courts. 

She said the facility would eventually offer activities like yoga classes and a winter market, which should appeal not just to children but to families and even single adults.

Krienitz said, should the park come to fruition, she'd like to see families have the option to buy memberships at discounted rates. Parkgoers would also be able to pay a one-day entry fee.

"We want people to enjoy this as easily as they enjoy outdoor parks in the summer," Krienitz said. "So we certainly don't want to rival what it costs for a family of four to go to the zoo, or to the children's museum or the pool."

The park's floor would be AstroTurf, although the hope is Village Park would also include real plants.
"We've spoken with an arborist and a horticulturist, who helped us come up with a plan utilizing the natural light coming into the building," Krienitz said. "They think we can grow trees and plants, and we really want real nature in here."

"I think it changes the way people feel, the air quality," she said.

Krienitz said the building is already zoned for recreational use, and as such it's her understanding she doesn't need any further approval from the City of Wauwatosa to proceed.

But city officials said that's not the case. They said via email Krienitz has not submitted plans to any city department, but that parts of the proposal - such as a coffee shop -- "will have to go through many approvals, including but not limited to a zoning change."

Tonight at 8 p.m. Krienitz will host a live chat online to take questions from the public about the indoor park proposal. To participate, head to the Village Park's Facebook page.

Krienitz hopes to have at least some of the park finished and open this winter.