MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Public Works Committee meets Wednesday to vote on a plan for the direction of the city's parks over the next five years.
"Parks are valuable and they're worth funding," said Joesph Kaltenberg, program coordinator for Milwaukee Parks.
Kaltenberg helped design the city's Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (CORP) for 2022-2027.
With money from fundraising, the city, state and private donors, the new CORP prioritizes the reconstruction of 23 of the city's 63 parks.
Those behind the plan, like Kaltenberg, are hoping for more success stories like Snail's Crossing Park in Riverwest.
"It's pretty new. I love it. It's convenient. It's safe for the kids," said Consuelo Rivera, who was at the park with her daughter.
Snail's Crossing benefited from a roughly $120,000 overhaul under the previous five-year plan.
It has modern and safe equipment for children. Kaltenberg described some of the modular units as "ninja warrior-style and adventure-style courses."
Under CORP, a park's current condition is the main factor in making the shortlist for reconstruction.
But an analysis of demographics, economics and other variables also determine which parks get quicker fixes.
The park at the corner of 29th and Melvina is scheduled as one of the first to receive help in 2022.
It will be the future site of the Century City Triangle Neighborhood Park.
The current playground is rundown and an adjacent basketball court has backboards on poles without hoops. But neighbors say their kids still play there and they know the importance and having that kind of space.
"This park brings our little community together with all the little kids [in this neighborhood]," said Evon Olinger, who lives across the street from the park.
"The swings can be bigger. Something bigger for them. They enjoy [the park] now, so it’d be even better if they fix it up."
A key tenet of the new plan, based on a program from 2015 called MKE Plays, utilizes public input for the improvement of parks.
The committee will also be voting Wednesday on a feasibility study to create more gathering spaces in Milwaukee, an appendix to the CORP proposed by Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson.
If the public works committee approves the plan, it will go before the common council for a final vote.
"Parks are an amazing thing, and they have wide-branching effects on other positive outcomes in the city as well," said Kaltenberg.