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Muskego's park plans include expanding Idle Isle, splash pad

Faster development eyed for Moorland, Arthur parks

April 15, 2012

Muskego - A proposed five-year plan update for parks and conservation lands in Muskego that among other things envisions a study of expanding the beach and swimming area at Idle Isle Park will go to the Common Council on April 24.

A public hearing was held on the plan last week when Craig Anderson, parks and recreation director, also said that while there are no plans to increase parking at Idle Isle, a paved path will be created connecting Idle Isle to a new parking lot about a block away at Park Arthur.

Among the other highlights in the proposed plan are researching a field house with a gym for the many athletic groups that are growing in popularity and evaluating the utility of the Horn and Jensen park buildings, Anderson said. Those buildings are 40 to 50 years old, he said, and may have outlived their useful lives.

Cool, wet relief

Also in the proposed five-year plan update is a potential water spray ground. That is an area that children can run through and be squirted or splashed with water. "They have become very popular," Anderson said.

In the parks plan for a while are creating a park in the southeast corner of the city, a dog park, a sand volleyball court and continuing to complete the system of recreational paths and trails.

The purchase of the Boxhorn boat launch, which has been in the plan for a long time, is now seemingly on the road, he said.

In addition, the parks department plans to continue working on cost-sharing with baseball groups, he said.

He also said he would likely ask the council this year for money to get Moorland Park and Park Arthur developed sooner. Historically, parks have been developed with part of the fees the city gets from the landfill operator and from developers in the form of park dedication fees. But those take a long time to build up, Anderson said.

Moorland Park could be home to a splash ground, a sand volleyball court, a pavilion and a field house, he said.

At Park Arthur, an archery range is in place with a hockey/ice rink and sledding hill to be ready for this winter, Anderson said. The plan also calls for four ball diamonds, horse trails, a playground with a shelter, soccer fields, a picnic area and a boardwalk trail system.

Too close to New Berlin

At last week's public hearing on the proposed five-year plan, Lannon Drive resident Suzie Link, former chairwoman of the Muskego Conservation Committee, objected to putting all those attractions in a park that's right on the border with New Berlin. The city will be spending taxes on things that will benefit New Berlin residents, she said.

Those amenities should be placed in more centrally located parks, she said, and if there isn't enough room, the city should sell part of Park Arthur and buy some park land.

Link also criticized the way city officials claim that park development costs no property tax dollars. Those landfill and developers fees used to go into the city's general fund to give property tax relief, Link said. Then many years ago, they were diverted to quality of life purposes, of which parks is one, Link said.

Because of that diversion, taxpayers no longer get that tax relief, she said.

Also at the public hearing, a resident asked if the plan could include having the concession stand at Idle Isle open all the time, rather than just during ski shows. Anderson said the city cannot find a vendor.

NEXT STEP

WHAT: Muskego Common Council vote on proposed five-year parks and recreation plan update

WHEN: 7 p.m. April 24

WHERE: Muskego City Hall, S8200 Racine Ave.

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