'Pay to Park' halted: Milwaukee County Executive Abele discontinues parks fundraising program

After public input which criticized the plan, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has decided to put the brakes on his "Pay to Park" program to help fund the Parks Department for 2018.

In a letter which he sent to constituents entitled "You Spoke, I Listened," Abele spelled out the decision to end his plan to have people pay for parking at Milwaukee County Parks.

Read the letter below (in part).

Dear friend,

Today, I’m asking the County Board to discontinue the Pay to Park program that was included in the 2018 budget, and use instead the County’s “rainy day” contingency fund to fully fund our Parks Department for this year.

We asked for public input in order to better understand how people feel about this new dedicated revenue stream to the parks system. I said from the beginning that charging for parking in the parks is not something that I prefer.

I am pleased that we will be able to avoid charging visitors from paying to park their vehicles this year. But I must caution that this is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

Aside from rainy day funds, other difficult options we had to consider were increasing the vehicle registration fee $5 per year or dramatic, widespread closures across our Parks system.

With no good options, I’m asking the County Board for this temporary fix, while we work together to plan for other alternatives in next year’s budget. 

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