Madeline Park Renovation: "It's a Lot of Money"
Parks and Recreation board members are split. Is it worth spending close to $100,000 on a park that might rarely get used?
Nestled on the corner of Waukesha Avenue and Elm Drive, Madeline Park has been the subject of confusion for Sussex Parks and Recreation board members for more than six months now.
And with the final results from the department’s survey tallied, board members are still unclear as to what should occupy the empty lot. The idea to install adult workout stations is officially dead, and although the survey indicates residents would like another playground, board members are unconvinced.
After sending the survey to more than 1,000 residents, and after Patch posted the survey for readers, 246 people responded to help give some direction. More than 50 percent of respondents said they’ve never even been to Madeline Park, but even so, a new playground was at the top of most people’s list.
- Playground – 121 votes
- Restrooms – 86 votes
- Dog Park – 54 votes
- Picnic Areas – 53 votes
- Exercise Stations – 45 votes
However, Parks and Rec Director Amy Flaherty said some of the comments at the end of the survey echoed the board’s concerns: if they put a playground there, who will use it? Board members like Tim Dietrich agreed.
“That’s a lot of money for that little park,” Dietrich said. “I find it hard to believe that we’ll get the usage. I mean, $100,000 is a lot of money. If we’re going to invest something in a park, it should be perceived by residents as something they find useful… It seems like we’re spending the money just to spend the money.”
This may be music to some residents’ ears. Patch readers left comments in the last article about the project asking why Sussex was sinking money into a park, especially when they needed a survey to figure out a reasonable way to spend the money.
“How about none (of the construction options)?” asked Joseph. “Why does the board feel the need to spend more money, especially in a time when people don't have a lot of it?”
"It seems like we’re spending the money just to spend the money.”
The reason behind the Madeline Park renovation is because the village plans to redevelop each Sussex park every 25 years to keep the areas up to date. The construction budget is reported around $80,000, and because Madeline Park is the only one that hasn’t been touched in a while, Parks and Recreation staff are focusing on it.
“We need to figure out if Madeline Park is actually the one we want to spend money on,” Flaherty said to the board. “There aren’t really any other parks on the radar. Right now the life cycle of a playground is 25 years, and the other parks are not old enough to be deserving of a playground replacement. Maybe we could just add amenities to existing, nice parks.”
Flaherty’s comment started a new conversation about distributing the money between other area parks, like finishing the Prides Crossing Park basketball court and adding amenities to Weyer Park near the library.
However, no official decision has been made. Flaherty said she plans to check with the Hamilton School District regarding how many young children live near Madeline Park, thus justifying a new playground. She also plans to see how many people use the Bugline trail near Madeline Park, perhaps justifying restrooms.
The park or parks that will be upgraded in 2013 will be chosen at the next Parks and Rec meeting in June.