Maslowski Park Ball Fields
A topic that has spanned years, and has continuously been brought up by my constituents since the new Maslowski Park opening is when the ball fields will be finished. This is not in Glendale's full control, but instead the Nicolet School District's control. For some years the city and the school district have had a loose partnership to create the park together. The City would provide the land, build the infrastructure, and build the field house while Nicolet would build the ball fields, operate the concessions, etc. See link on Nicolet's web site. So far, only the city has completed their part of the deal. Nicolet expected to do their part after finalizing the sale of land they have on the east side of Highway 43. Twice a deal for sale fell through, and now again they have an accepted offer. So far, the city has fronted nearly $1.25 Million (of tax payer dollars) which Nicolet is expected to pay back upon the sale of this land; that does not include the ball fields. The city has fund raised $900,000 from generous sponsors such as Johnson Controls, Sprecher Brewing, and Orthopedic Hospital of Wisconsin to name a few to offset the park's cost. Fund raising is expected to continue in an attempt to eventually make the park dollar neutral to our taxpayers.
Prior to learning of the accepted offer, interest surfaced that another party, Dominican High School, might also be interested in partnering with the city to build ball fields. In light of not having any time frame, submitted plans for the build out, or compensation for work already done yet from Nicolet, the Council voted in early December to request written proposals from any parties that my be interested.
Upon learning of the accepted offer for the sale, the city had a special meeting of the council on December 20th, and discussed with Nicolet officials the situation. During that discussion it was reconfirmed that the ball fields at Glendale's park remains lower priority to other updates at the Nicolet campus due to not having another place for them once the land is sold. The Mayor, myself, and others asked what Nicolet could do in the interim at the park, though nothing definitive was shared. A motion was made to postpone the request for proposals in light of the potential sale, allowing Nicolet more time to respond, though that motion did not move forward. I, along with most others on the council, felt we owe it to our residents to ask, in writing, for a plan and schedule for finishing Nicolet's portion of our park. Given the accepted offer, I feel Nicolet should now be able to provide this to us. The proposals are due back on February 1.
The City received proposals back from both Nicolet and Dominican, and the council received copies of them just days before the next Council Meeting. Nicolet and Dominican both attended and presented their plans. If you clicked the link above, both had very different uses of the land. Nicolet more for baseball and softball, while Dominican was looking for a more varied use of fields including tennis, baseball/softball, soccer/football, etc. The council had many questions for both parties around funding, feasibility, and private/public use. A motion was put forward to go ahead with Nicolet's proposal though four of the six alderpersons thought they and the public needed more time to review the plans and bring forward additional questions so the vote was tabled.
During the two weeks leading up to the next meeting, we received more information from both Dominican and Nicolet regarding their proposals. I also went door to door, posted an email newsletter, and did other outreach getting back over 50 responses from Glendale residents on the topic, some of whom provided key new insights. It was clearly the right decision to table the prior vote allowing our constituents time to review, and provide feedback, on the respective proposals. Those emails, phone calls, Facebook posts, and personal visits primarily supported a continued relationship with Nicolet. Yet, some also echoed the concerns many on the council had about schedule, funding, and the use of facilities. Rather than complacency on the topic, our common council has now laid out specific ground rules for Nicolet's completion of the park that also protects Glendale's interests. I believe had the council not acted, the city would be paying more than our fair share and development would be taking longer. If all goes to Nicolet's plan, we should see the ground break on the baseball field this year (2018).
It should be mentioned that I was impressed with Dominican’s willingness to partner with the city. During the last couple weeks, their responsiveness to the concerns brought forward shows they are a real asset to our Northshore community.
Thank you to all of you who provided me your thoughts. I would especially like to thank those who attended the council meetings. Taking an active part in your community benefits us all.
See you at the park!