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New hope for Milwaukee County aquatics center on the chopping block

Schulz Center set to be closed over budget cuts
Posted at 5:57 PM, Jan 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-24 18:57:38-05

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee County board chair says he's working on a fix, to keep a north side pool off the chopping block.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has warned the David Schulz Aquatic Center may not open this Summer, due to budget constraints.

What everyone can agree on, is that the aquatic center should stay open. Where to come up with roughly $232,000 in funding, still remains up in the air.

More than 4,600 people have already signed the petition: Stop the closing of Schultz Aquatic Center. It was created by the non-partisan group, Northwest Side Community Development Corporation.

"To get people rallied around one voice to say no we're not going to let this happen," said Danielle Breen, NWSCDC.

County Board Chair Theodore Lipscomb agrees.

"We shouldn't be closing amenities like this," Lipscomb said.

Which is why he wants to keep the pool open with a new directive.

He also pointed out the comptroller noted, "...there are sufficient budgeted funds to maintain aquatic operations at this time."

Milwaukee County Executive's spokeswoman says this is not the answer because they would then need to make cuts somewhere else.

"We can only operate the services that the county board chooses to fund," said Melissa Baldauff, Milwaukee County Executive Spokeswoman.

She explained Chris Abele wanted Schultz Aquatic Center to be fully funded, by implementing a $60 wheel tax. That proposal was voted down by the county board.

"He [Abele] needs to get over that and manage our departments efficiently and not cut services to our kids," said Lipscomb.

Leaders with Friends of Lincoln Park point out five pools have already to shut their doors on the north side.

"It just looks bad and I think of a county where you're supposed to be looking at the common good," said Sally Callan, Friends of Lincoln Park Co-Chair.

The county board chair's resolution will be introduced at the finance committee meeting Thursday morning.