Draft plan envisions plenty of amenities but Dohrwardt questions rules that would follow upgrades
Recreational amenities in the Village of Fredonia may be in relatively short supply, but there are ample opportunities to correct that shortcoming.
That is the bottom-line message of the draft Comprehensive Park, Recreation and Open Space Plan presented to the Village Board last week.
The plan was prepared by consultants from Kapur & Associates, with input from the village’s Parks Committee.
An up-to-date plan must be in place for the village to be eligible for grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other oversight groups.
“The main point is you don’t have enough recreational space, especially with the anticipated north side growth by 2035,” said Aaron Groh of Kapur.
The plan projects the community to grow by more than 700 residents in that time frame, to 2,900.
According to the plan, there are more than 117 acres of recreational land in the village, including open space owned by the village, Ozaukee County and the Northern Ozaukee School District.
While the consultants noted that amount of parkland was in line with standards established by the National Recreation and Park Association, village officials and residents have noted a need for improved facilities.
The open space inventory includes: the 42-acre Marie Kraus Park; Children’s Park, .25 acres; Fireman’s Park, 5 acres; Guzikowski retention pond, 3.9 acres; Heather Street green space, .1 acres; Mark Montaba Nature Center, 4.4 acres; Meadowbrook Park, .8 acres; Oak Park, 4 acres; Northern Ozaukee Schools playground, 2.6 acres; Regal Drive greenspace, .9 acres; Veterans Park, .4 acres; Stoney Creek Park, 3.7 acres; Partridge Lane green space, 3.9 acres; future Village Green park, 13 acres; and Waubedonia County Park, 45 acres.
The plan catalogs the features and amenities of each of the parks and open spaces in the community, with a possible five-year capital improvement schedule.
Although the consultants noted they are not necessarily recommending making all of the improvements at this time, the total cost of the enhancements would be nearly $330,000.
While appreciative for the detail included in the plan, Village President Don Dohrwardt said it was unreasonable to think having the plan in place will mean the improvements are inevitable.
“That amount would come to almost two-thirds of our tax levy,” Dohrwardt said.
Still, the plan urges a forward-looking view of the village’s recreational needs.
“As the population of Fredonia grows, the village should look to maintain and expand its parks and open space to accommodate a healthy and balanced community,” the plan summarizes.
The plan targeted several high priority park improvements. They include:
n A host of improvements are considered for the unnamed green space near the Fredonia Post Office. Suggestions include a skating rink and warming shelter, restrooms, a bandstand, play area and seasonal beer garden.
“All are good ideas — it is a matter of deciding how you want to proceed,” Groh said.
• Upgrade playground equipment at Stoney Creek Park.
• Update and formalize the written agreement between the village and N/C Machining Co. on the use of the private land for baseball facilities.
• Provide an additional Little League baseball field at Marie Krause Park.
• Develop a dog park at the Guzikowski pond and/or Oak Park.
• Expand the existing multi-use trail and install shared-use lanes along major village streets.
• Similarly, a connector path is recommended between Emerald Hills Drive and village playgrounds.
Several other recommendations were of a more general nature, including the use of wayfinding signs to make it clear what recreational facilities are available, including those in the county’s Waubedonia Park.
The plan also calls for the enhancement of cushioning surfaces around all children’s play equipment.
That last point especially irked Dohrwardt, who criticized the push by safety officials to replace conventional sand with more costly options, like recycled rubber and engineered wood chips.
“We all played in sand for millenniums. The pharaohs played in sand in ancient Egypt and they turned out fine,” he said, suggesting it is a matter “of fixing what isn’t broken.”
Dohrwardt said the same over-regulating approach comes into play when communities must make recreational facilities compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act whenever improvements are made.
“The ADA rules are great, but for a community our size they make upgrading facilities practically impossible because we cannot afford to comply with them,” Dohrwardt said.
“When the government sets these kinds of standards, it essentially forces small communities like us to do nothing because we can’t afford to do things the way they say we have to.”
The proposed mission statement of the plan is to “preserve or enhance environmental features, create passive and active recreational activities and provide environmental educational opportunities for Village of Fredonia residents.”
As a draft plan, the 94-page document was referred to the Parks Committee for final review prior to formal adoption by the Village Board next year.
The village’s last park plan was completed in 2011.
Kapur quoted a price not to exceed $13,990 for the plan. It was the middle bid from three planning firms applying for the work.