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Kilbourn Park to Come Under Neighborhood Control

by Sonya Jongsma Knauss and Jan Christensen

Kilbourn Park is set to be Milwaukee’s first community-run park, operated with input and direction from the community. This announcement from Tom Schneider, executive director of COA Youth and Family Centers, was met with a round of applause at the Riverwest Neighborhood Association meeting Tuesday, September 9. Schneider presented the historic, 37-page lease with the City of Milwaukee, outlining the agreement that Kilbourn Park will be run by the non-profit COA. After lengthy discussion, a motion was made that RNA support the working draft of the lease. A final vote on the motion will be held at the October RNA meeting. Schneider gave an in-depth report on progress at the park. The City has invested a couple million dollars into refinishing the park — fixing up the bathrooms, paving pathways from Commerce Street up to Glover, putting in a mini-amphitheatre part-way up the hill, and adding a sidewalk from Garfield to the parking lot. The City is still working on the maintenance shed as well as putting in harp lights and extra bathroom lights. Plans are also in the works for additional trees and some landscaping adjustments. COA will maintain the park by mowing, plowing, cleaning bathrooms, and picking up litter. A decision-making committee will run the park, and will consist of four members from the Department of City Development and as many community members as want to be involved. Schneider was very clear about his desire for community input and determination of programming. “It’s a huge piece of Riverwest land and has the potential to be a real neighborhood treasure,” he said. The reservoir is also likely to be decommissioned, Schneider said. Water Works will present a plan to the neighborhood sometime in coming months. Questions were raised about the city’s plans for the triangular area between North Avenue and Garfield. Plans are in place for the COA Board to approve the document on October 27, pending approval by the RNA. In other news from the Guardians of Greenspace, a handout and brief report were given on the progress of the Baby Park project. At the request of Marina Lee, who had received inquiries from people wishing to donate money toward the park and get a tax deduction, Tom Schneider volunteered to check with his board on whether COA Youth and Family centers could be a fiscal agent for donations for the small neighborhood park on the 3000 block of N. Bremen Street. Riverwest Cuirrents – Volume 2 – Issue 10 – October 2003
by Sonya Jongsma Knauss and Jan Christensen