Parks People prepared to stop private seizure of public park land

As I wrote over on the Milwaukee County First blog, “Memo to County Board: Vote against land seizure to make lakefront parking lot.” The text, in full:

How’d you like a company to come in and use some questionable maneuvers to take over your front yard and make it into a parking lot? That’s what the company that operates the lakefront war memorial wants to do with a chunk of Milwaukee County’s lakefront park land.

Our friends at The Park People of Milwaukee County have made it perfectly clear that they are prepared to use all legal means to prevent a private group from seizing a large piece of public lakefront land and turning it into a parking lot β€” a private lot that would benefit only the private group, not the people of Milwaukee County.

Parks People Executive Director Jim Goulee and President Dan Cody held a major press conference today (and issued a press release), where they urged the County Board of Supervisors to vote down the attempted land grab. And they made it clear that if necessary, they will tie up the attempted land grab in court.

We stand with The Park People on this. No portion of the publicly-owned lakefront park land β€” none of it at all β€” should be turned over to a private group. For this or any other purpose.

To show that they’re ready to put their words into action, The Park People have filed a “notice of claim,” which is a legal filing that is required before a party can sue a government entity. In this case, Milwaukee County. While it can’t prevent a hypothetical action, if the War Memorial Corporation does begin to pave the parkland, the lawsuit would go into effect, seeking to force the County to rescind WMC’s ability to use the lakefront parking area.

This would happen if the county board decides to allow the violation of the rules and turn over the land. But that should not happen at all. The board should do the right thing and not allow this desperate land grab to go forward.

By its very nature, our public park land belongs to the people of Milwaukee County. It would become useless to the people who own it if it were paved over and turned into a private parking lot. Do the right thing for the public, county board, and say no to this desperate gambit.

Also: Dan Cody, president of The Park People has been following this for some time now.

Also: The Daily Reporter has a lengthy story on this.

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.