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City and COA Grapple with Liability Issue for Kilbourn / Reservoir Park

by Jay Kirk

Discussions are continuing on the future of Reservoir Park, as the issue of liability insurance has proved to be a sticking point in negotiations between COA and the City for leasing the land. While the atmosphere of the negotiations has been congenial, little progress has been made. The Riverwest Park Trust Planning Committee met on January 6 to discuss current developments. Tom Schneider, Executive Director of COA, reported on lease negotiations with the City of Milwaukee. Three options to resolve the liability issue are being pursued. First, the City is investigating continuing its liability coverage for the Park. Second, COA is investigating the possibility of obtaining affordable liability insurance. Third, the possibility of COA signing a contract to manage rather than lease the Park is being explored. The management option appears to offer an attractive method to resolve the liability issue. COA and some area schools have received funding for park programming via the Fighting Back Initiative (see page 14), which will support three park-based events. A Goldin Summer Day Camp grant has also been received. This funding will provide day camp for 20 to 60 children, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Programming ideas for the Park were discussed. Ideas generated included built-in fireplaces, community decorated picnic tables and a fire pit. To recoup some costs, fees might be collected for use of athletic fields and picnic areas. If any of these areas were not reserved, they would be available to all on first come, first served basis. The City has indicated that this would be an opportune time to request changes in the parking lot which is adjacent to COA. Funding would be available to enlarge the lot as well as to provide harp lights to better illuminate it. Also suggested was modification of the entrance to the lot, so that cars may enter and exit the lot simultaneously. It was suggested that trees that were removed during the current Park modifications be replaced. Concern was expressed that if COA programs the use of the Park, community members may have little opportunity to enjoy it. Schneider indicated that the Park would be fully available for the entire community weekdays and Saturdays after 2 p.m. and all day Sunday. Several members suggested that the recommended Booth Street stairway should be reviewed at the next meeting. Given that there will be stairways both east and west of this location, they will examine whether its construction is worth the expense. The next meeting of the Riverwest Park Trust will be at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 4, at COA. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 2 – February 2003
by Jay Kirk