Brown Deer gets into gear for new park
DOT riverside land could become canoe launch in 2014
Brown Deer - With an eye toward the village's comprehensive plan, the Village Board voted Monday to purchase a 2.7-acre plot of land along the Milwaukee River from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for $25,000.
The land, located near the southeast corner of West Brown Deer Road and North Kildeer Court, is currently excess right of way owned by the DOT.
The village has budgeted $100,000 in its capital improvement plan to convert the area into parkland in 2014 and create a canoe and kayak launch abutting the river.
According to zoning and planning specialist Nate Piotrowski, the addition of a park addresses several shortfalls described in the village's 2009 comprehensive plan - namely a lack of public access to the Milwaukee River and a lack of park space on the eastern edge of the village.
"The plans aren't advanced beyond conceptual," Piotrowski said. "We'd be looking at some type of parking space, some type of trails that would lead you down to a launch area, and some signs to identify it as parkland. And some restoration of what you would call native grasses and native plantings - some additional landscape architecture efforts throughout the space."
The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District will kick in half of the cost of the purchase in exchange for participation in its Greenseams program - which keeps purchased land undeveloped to preserve natural drainage and water retention - and a perpetual conservation easement.
The MMSD easement would prevent any additional development from occurring in the future, much to the relief of the neighbors.
"One of the concerns of the residents in the area was the potential for the property to be sold off for development," said Village Manager Russell Van Gompel. "Even if the village hasn't reached a consensus on design and scope, at least it's in the control of the village."
Now that the property belongs to the village, officials can begin fleshing out the plan that will ultimately conclude in the construction of the park.
"It's something I would look to work with the Parks and Recreation Department on as we move forward and identify some potential programming for that space as well," said Piotrowski.
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