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Milwaukee Recreation
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Executive Summary

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  Executive Summary

This Plan sets forth the district’s vision for the future growth and development of its outdoor recreation playfields and facilities and is intended to guide the district’s outdoor recreation facility development through the year 2024 and beyond.

The existing Milwaukee Public School (MPS) managed outdoor recreation system is comprised of 52 active use playfields and three service centers encompassing more than 300 acres of programmed space. A majority of these sites serve as neighborhood scale parks with traditional recreational facilities such as ballfields, totlots, tennis courts, fieldhouses, and general open space.

A multitude of programming options have historically been offered throughout the district and current programs such as Free Summer Playgrounds in concert with Summer Meals draw large groups of children each year. Many of these programs are held in neighborhoods with low household income levels and provide a much needed resource.

In 2014, the District retained a consultant to conduct a review of the existing facilities and provide a roadmap for improvements spanning a ten-year timeframe. The study included both site and building evaluations over a period of approximately seven months. Extensive discussions with district staff revealed background information on current maintenance and operation practices which have been translated into this document.

Several issues that repeatedly surfaced during the planning process are highlighted below:

  • ADA Accessibility: Many of the locations lack proper barrier free access to both site amenities as well as the buildings.
  • Support Facilities: Updated restrooms and consistent signage were noted as needs throughout the existing system.
  • Court Sport Areas: The recreational facilities in the worst state of disrepair were the tennis courts.

General recommendations for the entire system include: retrofitting all playfields and fieldhouses including restrooms to be ADA accessible (when possible); improving existing totlots with modern equipment; maintaining adequate safety surfacing on all play areas; and   removal or rehabilitation failing and unsafe tennis court facilities.

Recreation Department Mission Statement
Milwaukee Recreation … enriching and strengthening the community by promoting healthy lifestyles, personal development, and fun through memorable recreational and educational experiences for people of all ages and abilities.

Statement of Need
The Recreation Facilities Master Plan will outline a set of city-wide projects to be undertaken over the next ten years. The purpose of the planned projects is to address the community’s current and future recreational needs by upgrading 52 playfields and fieldhouses maintained by the district. These efforts will assure the highest level of service and safe utilization to users.

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  Goals and Objectives

The following section identifies goals and objectives to guide the future improvements and/or development of district managed outdoor recreation facilities.

Maintenance and Operations Management Standards

  • Improve the overall maintenance of outdoor recreation facilities under the jurisdiction of the Milwaukee Public Schools to match existing regional levels of maintenance and care as it applies to outdoor recreation facilities.
  • Prioritize the ongoing operations and maintenance of outdoor recreation facilities with existing funding.
  • Update maintenance and safety standards.

Preventive Maintenance Plan

  • Manage all existing recreation facilities in a consistent and sustainable way to assure the highest levels of service and safe utilization to users.
  • Reduce maintenance backlog and identify adequate funding to sustain a satisfactory Facility Condition Index (FCI).
  • Improve safety (Better lighting, Surveillance and ADA Access)
  • Develop a tree replacement plan.
  • Develop sustainable guidelines (which conserve resources, such as water and energy)

Maintenance Personnel Assignment Procedures

  • Align personnel to ensure efficiency in the management of outdoor recreation facilities.
  • Create a dedicated staffing position to oversee the implementation of the Outdoor Recreation Facilities Master Plan

Capital Asset Depreciation and Replacement Schedule

  • Adequately fund the recreation facilities budget to maintain quality outdoor recreation facilities.
  • Update outdoor recreation facilities to maximize their use and appreciation by the community for people of all ages.

Ensure that the existing recreational facilities and programs are designed to meet the special needs of all residents regardless of age, gender, or ability.

  • Provide for barrier-free access in all new facility construction and play areas.
  • Achieve compliance with accessibility requirements in existing facilities as improvements are made.
  • Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act as it applies to communication with the public. This is in reference to the standard language that government agencies should use on their agendas and other public meeting documents, stating that accommodation for those with disabilities who wish to attend the meeting.
  • Improve infrastructure and provide upgrades to existing facilities (such as shade, concession stands/restrooms, paved parking lots and landscaping).
  • Assure that all facilities have multiple access points and that a large portion of the facility is publicly accessible.

Provide all residents with an opportunity to engage in recreational activities.

  • Provide at least one recreational facility within a safe and comfortable walking distance for all community residents.
  • Keep participant recreational activities fees affordable to allow broad participation and enjoyment of recreation facilities.

Coordinate development efforts and the maintenance of recreational facilities between the District, City of Milwaukee, local sports organizations and Milwaukee County Parks.

  • Enhance formal coordination and communication between the school district, City of Milwaukee, sports organization leaders, and Milwaukee County Parks staff through periodic updates and collaborative workshops.
  • Encourage cooperative school/sports association development projects to help improve and expand recreational opportunities throughout the community in a cost-effective manner.
  • Develop formal use/revenue agreements between the district, and community/volunteer organizations to help operate and maintain public recreation facilities. Agreements should be reviewed every two years.
  • Participate in regional planning of parks and recreational needs, including the planning by Milwaukee County Parks Department and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Provide residents with safe and reliable recreation equipment throughout the system.

  • Accurately inventory existing facilities and maintain an active log of facility improvement.
  • Continue funding the replacement of old and deteriorating recreation equipment at all sites.
  • Continually monitor and maintain existing equipment to ensure its longevity and safety.
  • Continue ongoing inspection of totlot equipment for safety and industry standard compliance. Audits should be completed by a NPSI certified inspector.

Recognize the importance of an adequate capital budget, which can financially address existing hazards and allow for future facility development.

  • Use the Outdoor Recreation Facilities Master Plan as a guide to establish yearly capital budgets.
  • Invest funds for the development of facilities that will maximize existing park and recreation areas and provide exciting recreational programs, with the intention of increasing facility prominence, community visibility, and use.


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  Summary of the Planning Process

Work Plan and Timeline
This plan was developed between June 2014 and February 2015. The process included seven meetings with staff and other officials, and will conclude with a public information meeting/presentation to the Milwaukee Board of School Directors. All sites were audited by SAA and Continuum staff with findings identified on inventory sheets.

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  Summary of Milwaukee Public Schools Recreation Department

Organization Overview
The Milwaukee Public Schools Department of Recreation & Community Services was founded in 1911 and has grown to serve members of the community of all ages. The School District is divided into 8 School Board districts encompassing more than 96 square miles and is bounded on the eastern edge by Lake Michigan. The Recreation Department currently offers  educational and recreational programs for youth, teens, adults, and seniors in more than 100 school and community facilities. Key programs offered include:

  • Active Older Adults
  • Aquatics
  • Before and After School Programs
  • Driver Education
  • Outdoor Education
  • Partnership for the Arts and Humanities
  • Special Olympics and Adaptive Athletics
  • Summer Enrichment Camps
  • Summer Playgrounds
  • Summer Stars Teen Program
  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Youth and Adult Enrichment Classes
  • Youth and Adult Sports

Governing Policies
The properties, as well as the programming offered at the sites included in the analysis are governed by School District policies and City of Milwaukee Ordinances. It is advised that these regulatory documents be reconciled on a periodic basis to ensure that there is no conflicting language. District policies are included in the Milwaukee Public Schools Administrative Policies and Procedures.

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  Milwaukee Area Background

This section presents social factors that are important to understanding Milwaukee and its recreation needs and potential. Particularly important to planning for the adequate provision of recreational facilities are population trends and projections over the planning period (5-10 years) and age characteristics of potential facility users.

Population Trends and Projections
There is a direct relationship between population and the need for parks and recreational space. Predicting how the population might grow in the future provides important information about the amount of new parkland and recreational facilities that will be needed to serve the new populations.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau , the greatest population change over the past 50 years   in the City of Milwaukee was between 1970 and 1980 when population decreased 11%  (from 717,372 to 636,295). More recently, the city has reversed this trend and is beginning  to show population growth for the first time in 50 years. The population grew slightly between 2010 and 2014 and future projections show similar growth. The Wisconsin Department of Administration Demographic Services Center (DOA) estimated Milwaukee’s population to be 595,993 in 2014. DOA also updated population forecasts for each community in Wisconsin in 2014, and using these forecasts DOA estimates roughly a 5% increase (about 26,150 people more than in 2014) in city population through 2035. Population information for Milwaukee, as well as several neighboring communities, is provided in table 1.1.


Population Projections for City of Milwaukee and Comparables (2035)


City of Milwaukee Population Projections


Social Characteristics
Ethnic Background
In 2010, the Census indicated the largest percentage of Milwaukee residents (44.8%) were
“White”. The second highest percentage was “Black or African American” with (40.0%) followed by “Hispanic” (7.5%), and “Asian” (3.5%). Other races make up less than 5% of the remaining population.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development estimated the 2013 unemployment rate for the City of Milwaukee as 10.0%. This is somewhat higher than the statewide unemployment rate during this same time period of 7.8%.

Age distribution in the City of Milwaukee is shown in Table 1.2. Age cohorts are an important consideration when determining park facilities because certain age groups are more likely to utilize certain recreation facilities depending upon their stage in life. For example, in 2010 there were an estimated 48,694 children under the age of 5 in Milwaukee (8.2% of Milwaukee’s population). These children would be best served by low platforms with ramps or ladders, sand areas, or short slides no taller than 4 feet. These same facilities would be uninteresting to a 10 year old. A well-rounded park system will provide a variety of facilities (soccer fields, etc.) and equipment (swings, etc.) for all potential users regardless of ability or stage of life.

Changes in age distribution between 2000 and 2010 seem to suggest there is a growing need for adult-oriented (50-64 years) activity centers. Following national trends, Milwaukee is  likely to experience an increase in senior residents seeking recreation opportunities. These populations are generally seeking walking paths (with benches) and formalized senior programming as well as fishing and other outdoor options.


Age Distribution, 2000-2010

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  General Observations

The information for this section was gathered from site visits conducted by SAA and Continuum staff during the summer of 2014 and in-depth discussions with district staff. The lands programed and managed by MPS are diverse in nature and often reflect the character of the surrounding neighborhoods. As an example, Cass Street Park has been adopted by the neighborhood and serves as not only a recreational destination, but an outlet for creative residents. A total of 34 buildings at 52 different sites were visited multiple times as part of this study to assess their condition and present use.

This facilities assessment scores park elements as Poor, Fair, Good, or Excellent. These conditions are defined as follows:

Poor: Element is currently beyond its useful life and should be replaced or repaired immediately.

Fair: Element will need to be replaced within the next five years.

Good: Element will need to be replaced with in the next ten to fifteen years.

Excellent: Element was recently replaced and/or upgraded and will not need to be replaced for the foreseeable future.

Typical Site Format
This planning study involved 55 properties managed by MPS. The sites investigated and currently programmed for recreation purposes generally fit into three categories. Each of these categorical sites contained very similar equipment and amenity offerings both in terms of scale and age (year purchased or constructed). This is especially evident in the totlot structures and bleachers and will be problematic as life expectancy of this equipment is at or past time. The three categories of sites are:

  • Stand alone playfield (neighborhood level of service)
  • Facilities adjacent to a school building
  • Destination athletic complex

Stand alone playfields were often nestled into existing residential areas and function as a traditional neighborhood park. Amenities found in these sites include a totlot (multi-age), swings, general open space, tennis courts, basketball courts, fieldhouse, and occasionally a wading pool.

Facilities adjacent to existing school buildings provide not only an open space for school children to spend recess and Physical Education classes, but also programmed recreation events for private or public leagues. These sites typically contained a totlot, backstop and ball diamond areas, and general open space.

Destination athletic complexes such as Wick Field and Sijan Playfield are the largest sites operated by MPS and are located on major transportation corridors. Recreational amenities at these sites include totlots (multi-age), multiple lighted ball diamonds, restroom/field house buildings, tennis court complexes, basketball courts, and general open space often marked for soccer use.

Typical Building Format
Many of the building facilities are over 50 years old, and most have had no or few  renovations since their construction. An estimated 56% of the facilities are more than 80 years old. These buildings are at the point or will soon be at the point in their life cycle where substantial improvements will be required to keep them operational. The age of these facilities also suggests that they are likely no longer being used for their intended purpose and that existing uses could benefit from building improvements.

The building facility survey was intended to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Provide a conditions assessment for each facility.
  • Review and understand the current activities at each existing facility to inform recommendations for future use.
  • Determine best type of facility for each site. A need for four different building types was observed at these sites:
  1. Storage: Used for storage of materials or equipment that is needed for site use and maintenance. These buildings are not for public use.
  2. Restroom: Toilet facilities available for public use during on-site scheduled activities when park staff is present. This would be a seasonal building that would be shut down during the winter months. The facility may or may not be tempered.
  3. Community facility: Buildings that are needed for the public use of programmed functions inside the building. These buildings are more frequently open than other facilities, but only under supervision from staff. These buildings would also be fully tempered with heating/cooling systems and be open year round.  Types of activities that fall under the Community umbrella include:
  1. Educational/recreational classrooms
  2. Community room rental
  3. Voting
  4. Meals program
  5. Wading pool / splash pad on site
  6. Specialty facility: Operated for a specific function. Examples of specialty facilities include the Hawthorn Glen Nature Center and Beulah Brinton Community Center.
  • Recommend improvements that should be completed to simplify maintenance for each existing facility. These recommendations fall into three broad categories:
  1. Demolish the existing building if it:
  1. Does not meet the intended use at the site
  2. Has reached the end of its useful life
  3. Is an excess facility whose function can be better performed by other facilities in the area
  1. Build a new building/structure at a site to serve a location’s presently programmed use.
  2. Provide capital improvements on a site if it:
  1. Requires improvements beyond its routine maintenance schedule in order to continue operation
  2. Lacks amenities needed to serve its current use that could be acquired with increased revenue

Existing buildings fell into the following categories:

  • 1930’s / WPA building with toilet rooms and community rooms of varied sizes. Some of these facilities also have wading pools.
  • 1930’s / WPA building with toilet rooms and storage rooms only
  • 1930’s / WPA building that is a specialty building and a nature center
  • 1960’s building with toilet rooms and a large community space
  • 1960’s building with toilet rooms and storage rooms only
  • 1960’s building with a larger community center and indoor recreation facility
  • 1980’s building with toilet rooms only; no storage or community space

During numerous site visits during the active summer months of 2014, many buildings appeared to be minimally utilized. Oftentimes buildings were simply empty, while other buildings had no indication or record of spectator or participant use. In many instances the condition of the building would not allow for its effective use. Observed conditions that might make a building unusable included deteriorated physical condition or large amounts of space dedicated to storage. Common issues observed at most facilities included:

  • Virtually no buildings were fully ADA accessible. Toilet rooms would need the most improvements to achieve compliance. Examples of such improvements include rearranging or replacing plumbing fixtures, modifying door sizes and locations, and providing ADA compliant ramps and building entries.
  • Ramps and pavement around many buildings were in disrepair.
  • Many of the buildings had original single pane steel or wood windows. Many of them either had original window openings filled with masonry or boarded up. Security screens were placed over all windows.
  • Door conditions varied between buildings. Most of the buildings’ doors were painted hollow metal doors and frames. Many of them had peeling paint or were dented or rusted.
  • Roof conditions varied, but many of the building roofs appeared to have been recently maintained or replaced. However, roof soffits, roof edges/fascia, and gutters were often in fair to poor condition.
  • Most existing buildings also needed interior and exterior repainting.
  • 30% of the buildings not scheduled for demolition appear to have aged mechanical systems that need or will soon need replacement.
  • Most plumbing fixtures are older and may need to be replaced. Others will need to be adjusted to meet ADA requirements.
  • All light fixtures are older and would benefit from replacement.


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  Analysis and Ranking Explanation

Each location was evaluated based on the condition of its facilities. These included play equipment, sports courts, wading pools, etc. Each amenity within every site was given a grade of 1 = poor, 2 = fair, 3 = good or 4 = excellent. The same methodology was used in the rankings for the field houses.

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  MPS Managed Parks

For the purposes of this plan, the City of Milwaukee has been broken into three sub-areas to assist with organizing the inventory and recommendations.

Sub Area 1
Sub area one is bounded by West Capitol Drive on the south and the city boundary on the west, north and east. This sub area contains approximately 23,900 acres and 11 MPS managed recreational facilities. The following is a list of those facilities.

  • Browning Playfield
  • Bryant Playfield
  • Carmen Playfield
  • Clovernook Playfield
  • Custer Playfield
  • Garden Homes Playfield

Sub Area 2

  • Hampton Playfield
  • Hampton Service Center
  • Lancaster Playfield
  • Parkview Playfield
  • Stark Playfield
  • Vincent Playfield

Sub area two is bounded by the city boundary on the east and west, West Capitol Drive on the north and West National Avenue on the south. This sub area contains approximately 19,500 acres and 17 MPS managed recreational facilities. The following is a list of those facilities.

  • Auer Avenue Playfield
  • Burbank Playfield
  • Cass Street Playground
  • Columbia Playfield
  • Dyer Playfield
  • Enderis Playfield
  • 39th Street Service Center
  • 53rd Street Playfield
  • Franklin Square Playfield

Sub Area 3

  • Green Bay Avenue Playfield
  • Hawthorn Glen Nature Center
  • Juneau Playfield
  • Merrill Playfield
  • N. 65th Street Playfield
  • Pulaski Playfield
  • Pumping Station Playfield
  • Riverside Playfield
  • Wick Field

Sub area three is bounded by West National Avenue on the north and the city boundary on the east, south and west. This sub area contains approximately 18,500 acres and 24 MPS managed recreational facilities. The following is a list of those facilities.

  • Alcott Park
  • Beulah Brinton Playfield
  • Burnham Playfield
  • Modrzejewski Playground
  • Cooper Playfield
  • Delaware Service Center
  • 88th Street Playfield
  • Emigh Playfield
  • Fairview Playfield
  • Gra-Ram Playfield
  • Hamilton HS Playfield
  • Holt Playfield
  • Jewell Playfield
  • Lewis Playfield
  • Lincoln Playfield
  • Lowell Playfield
  • Ohio Playfield
  • Rogers Playfield
  • S. 78th Street Playfield
  • Sijan Playfield
  • Southlawn Playfield
  • Uncas Playfield
  • Warnimont Playfield
  • Wedgewood MS
  • Whitman Playfield




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  General Recommendations

The following is a list of general recommendations for the entire inventory included in this analysis. Some recommendations should occur when capital improvements and upgrades are considered on an annual basis while others reflect procedures or policies that should be implemented over time.


  1. Conduct an ADA audit system-wide, and develop a prioritized action plan to address documented issues; this includes assuring barrier-free access to all play areas, field houses, shelters, bleacher seating areas, and restrooms.
  2. Where possible with existing infrastructure, assure that all programmed sites are improved with water fountains (bubblers). These facilities should meet current ADA compliant design parameters.
  3. Cover surfaces directly under play equipment and a safe zone around the play equipment with a 10-inch to 12-inch layer of resilient safety surface. Commonly used resilient surfaces include recycled rubber or wood chips. To meet the Federal ADA requirements, the district should continue using “Wood Carpet” or a similar product that provides wheelchair accessibility as well as a resilient surface. This practice was observed at many of the existing totlots.
  4. Consider converting existing wading pool facilities into recirculating splashpads. Properly designed splashpads or spray grounds require less staffing and long term maintenance costs.
  5. Conduct a safety audit/inspection of all existing totlots for current National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI) conformance. Audits should be performed by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI). This includes a thorough examination of existing slides, merry-go-rounds, and other play structures.
  6. Institute a preventative maintenance tree program. Strategies should include removal of overgrown vegetation, dead/declining trees, and stumps in a timely fashion.
  7. Where flag poles exist they should be properly lighted. Where shrubs or other flora exist at the flagpole, proper pruning is necessary to keep lights functional.
  8. Complete a site Master Plan for those locations that no longer function as originally intended.
  9. Perform systematic routine maintenance of facilities and equipment including:
  1. Play equipment
  2. Playfields and sport courts
  3. Benches and bleachers
  4. Fieldhouses
  5. Equipment sheds
  6. Bicycle racks


  1. Improve and standardize on-site monument signage for all sites.
  2. Develop a standard group of rules/regulations signage and install consistently in all facilities.

Environmentally Sustainable Practices

  1. Trash receptacles should be evenly distributed throughout the playfields. The method of collection should also be used to determine receptacle locations. Placement of trash receptacles near sitting benches, for example is not preferred since it may discourage use of the benches or the trash receptacle.
  2. Consider adopting a “grow not mow” policy at certain locations to limit how often (and what portions of) the sites are mowed. Adding a day or more to the mowing cycle can reduce the amount of fossil fuels consumed in operations, increase natural buffers and reduce soil compaction or erosion.
  3. When replacing and/or installing new pathway or building lighting, consider fixtures that utilize solar regeneration and LED illumination optics to reduce long-term maintenance costs and minimize non-renewable energy use.
  4. Due to the invasion of the emerald ash borer (EAB) the tree industry has stopped growing and planting ash trees. However, as there is a substantial population of ash trees in existing facilities, management options should be considered. According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) management options consist of tree removal or pesticide treatment. Tree removal can be reactive, once trees are infested, or preemptive to trees that are not infested. Many of the ash population within the locations are of a similar age and will likely experience parallel decline. The district should evaluate and develop a policy for methodical removal and replacement of these trees in all properties.

Surplus Property Strategies

  1. There are several properties under current MPS recreation management that serve little or no programmed value. Given the large number of safety and functional issues at locations that are highly programmed and utilized, MPS should consider eliminating or reducing the burden of ongoing maintenance in those under-utilized sites.


  1. The District should evaluate current facility rental rates and strive to reduce the financial gap between revenue collected and maintenance costs.
  2. User fees should be re-evaluated commensurate with increases in service once improvements are completed.
  3. Consider private sponsorships and non-traditional funding opportunities to fund facilities improvements or special events.
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  Plan Approval and Amendments

A prerequisite to participation in outdoor recreation grant programs is the adoption of a governing body which in this case would be the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, and subsequent Department of Natural Resources acceptance of a local comprehensive outdoor recreation plan every five years. This scenario and Plan differs from a typical comprehensive outdoor recreation plan because of the nature of the property ownership. A case should be made to the DNR for a review and approval of this plan based on the extensive public benefit the MPS recreation properties afford.

Comprehensive planning is an overall survey of the existing facilities within a given jurisdiction, and gives recommendations for future improvements. A traditional comprehensive outdoor recreation plan (CORP) is only the first step in the development of a municipal recreational park site or system.

Master planning, which follows the recommendations of the system-wide plan, is an overall view and analysis of an existing or proposed park area. The purpose is to guide the orderly development of a park or recreational facility. Major parks should have a Master Plan on file, and be revised every 20 years maximum to reflect current trends and highest and best land use.

Site planning, is the detailed design of how an area within a park or recreation area will be developed. Site plans supply the construction details needed to develop a specific facility or amenity recommended in the master plan.

This plan provides strategies and recommendations for improving the MPS managed outdoor recreation facilities. It is anticipated that master planning for several of the facilities is a high priority and should be featured prominently when budgets are determined over the life of this plan. The following parks are in need of substantial redevelopment and would greatly benefit from a Master Plan process or further site and building design considerations:

  • Clovernook Playfield
  • Emigh Playfield
  • Lancaster Playfield
  • Modrzejewski Playfield
  • Pumping Station Playfield

Formal Plan Approval
This Plan should be approved by the governing body after thorough review by the MPS recreation and facility staff. Once adopted by the MBSD, the plan will become a guiding tool for the next 10 years and beyond. As district staff change over time, the analysis and recommendations found herein can continue to provide background information and help the transition of institutional memory.

Amending the Plan
Plan amendments are common and should be considered part of the planning process. They
frequently represent good implementation or plan usage and are acceptable for consideration by decision-makers. Amendments may follow the same process as the original plan and may be developed in coordination with the district staff, City of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County Parks, before presentation to the MBSD for approval. Amendments generally prolong the effectiveness of the parent plan.

This document will make the district eligible for funding through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources through the year 2019. Since this plan has been developed with a ten-year timeframe, it should be revised in 2025, but updated in 2019 to ensure grant eligibility and to reflect progress made over time. An update process will not need to include the same level of analysis if accurate records of development and improvements are kept in the interim years.

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  Maintenance Plan

A high level of resources in terms of human effort and dollars are expended each year to upkeep the MPS recreation sites. Typical maintenance obligations include: mowing, trash collection, building winterization, ball diamond infield upkeep, snow removal, field lining and wading pool management.

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  Capital Improvements Plan

Capital improvements to a facility are the addition of labor and materials that improve the overall value and usefulness of that facility. Capital improvements are typically designated and funded individually through segregated accounts. Routine maintenance, on the other hand, is considered to be the repair and upkeep of existing facilities, such as painting a storage shed or roofing a fieldhouse. Routine maintenance of facilities does not appreciably increase the value or usefulness of the site, and is traditionally funded through operations budgets. Non- routine maintenance of recreation facilities, such as upgrading a toilet facility to be barrier- free, is usually considered to be a capital improvement.

Most projects can be easily identified and categorized, but some are difficult. When a project falls on the borderline between a capital improvement and maintenance, the overall cost becomes the determinant. Projects with a high cost, such as that for seal coating parking lots would likely be categorized as capital improvements.

The capital improvements program for each site is a combination of several types of projects. These projects are ranked according to their importance and priority in the overall development of the facility, and the value of the project to the overall system. Capital improvements for this plan are ranked in the following manner:

  • Improvements to existing facilities that will:


  1. iCorrect health and safety hazards
  2. Upgrade deficient facilities
  3. iModernize adequate but outdated facilities
  • Installation of facilities as deemed appropriate and necessary through public demand
  • Development of new facilities as deemed necessary through level of service, population projection, and GIS analyses

Improvements that correct health and safety hazards are always the highest ranking priority while improvements that are deemed necessary through empirical analyses are usually ranked the lowest.

The total improvement cost by sub area and by year is assembled in Table 4 and is followed by a summary of improvement costs by recreation area. Costs associated to each location improvement option are based upon recent regional project construction costs and may be spread out over many years. An inflation factor of 2.5% starting in year two has been used to adjust for cost increases. This inflation factor, like the priority rankings, should be adjusted to reflect changes that may occur over time that were unknown when this plan was originally prepared. It is acknowledged that the typical MPS capital improvement budget is significantly less than the proposed annual totals in these tables.


Total Site Improvement Costs by Year and Sub-Area


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Contact Us

For more information on the Master Plan Update:

Pamela Zimmerman

Specialist - Design & Development
Email: Pam [at]

Jeff Dhein-Schuldt

Manager - Design & Development
Email: Jeff [at]

Jason Wilke

Manager - Design & Development
Email: JasonW [at]

Stephanie Wilson

Manager - Design & Development
Email: Stephanie [at]

(When emailing our staff, please replace the "[at]" with a traditional "@" symbol. Ex:

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