The Mitchell Park Domes was the venue for local residents to share their anger over a proposal to charge a fee to park at all Milwaukee County parks.
The meeting was supposed to be an hour and a half, but lasted more than three hours. Tempers flared. County residents confronted Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele about the proposal.
“Nobody’s wrong to not want to pay more for government,” Abele said. “They’re right.”
But he says if the county does not come up with more about $1.6 million, services will be cut.
“It’s hard to say what’s more important,” Abele said. “Parks are important. But so is transit, and services for people with disabilities, and senior centers. All these services are important and shouldn’t be cut.”
He blames a continuous decrease in state funding over the past 10 years.
“The best way to try and change this is to talk to your state legislators because that’s where the change can ultimately happen,” he said.
The Milwaukee County Board did approve Abele’s paid-parking revenue in the 2018 budget. A work group was commissioned to study how to best implement paid parking. They’ve been studying rates between $1 to $2.50 per hour.
Some county supervisors who attended the public meeting shared their anger that Abele did not stay to listen to public comment.
State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff says forcing people to pay to park at public parks is discrimination against families who don’t have the means.