Attend September 10 meeting
to oppose sale of park!
Milwaukee County is considering selling O'Donnell Park after an offer by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, which wants the 1,300 parking spaces in the parking structure under the park for its expanding employment in the new high-rise it's building across the street.
The $14 million offer will be discussed at a public hearing on the sale Wednesday, Sept. 10 in the second floor Harbor Lights room of the County Transit Center, 909 E Michigan St. The hearing before the County Board's Economic Development and Parks Committees is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Parking is free in the O'Donnell Park garage.
Preserve Our Parks opposes the sale of O'Donnell Park and encourages like-minded residents of Milwaukee County to attend the meeting and make their opposition known. If you can't attend, contact your County Supervisor and tell him or her why you object to the sale. (See contact information for County Supervisors on POP's TAKE ACTION page)
Preserve Our Parks believes that NOT FOR SALE should be the rule for all Milwaukee County Parks. If Juneau is sold, how long will it be before someone makes an offer for Lake Park or Currie or Whitnall or Grant? All would make ideal development sites, but that is not the purpose for which they were designed: the relaxation, activities and enjoyment of open space.
Also, O'Donnell's parking structure is a money-maker for the County and its park system, taking in upward of $2 million each year.
As the eastern part of the park lies on filled lakebed land, it falls under the state's Public Trust Doctrine, which disallows commercial ownership of such land.
When the City of Milwaukee transferred it's parks to Milwaukee County in the late 1930s, the transfer deed specified that these parks would remain parks or would revert to city ownership. O'Donnell Park falls into that category.
With private ownership, the park in the future could be used for a real estate development of any sort, eliminating the green space and view over the soaring Calatrava sculpture that has become a symbol of Milwaukee.
Why can't Northwestern Mutual lease the parking spaces it needs? We encourage Northwestern Mutual members to contact the company and emphasize this option that would be a win-win solution.
(Patricia Jursik, chairman of the Economic Development Committee, says that if there is a sale she wants a guarantee in any agreement that Northwestern Mutual will keep the current parkland a park and prohibiting any development that would extend into the airspace above it.)