City to initially fund stage replacement out of capital budget

Donations to pay city back over time

Residents listen to The Mr. Lucky Syndicate band at a 2011 Music in the Glen series concert. The stage in the photo has since been decommissioned.

Residents listen to The Mr. Lucky Syndicate band at a 2011 Music in the Glen series concert. The stage in the photo has since been decommissioned. Photo By John O'Hara

Jan. 29, 2013

Glendale - The city is planning to replace its stage within its capital budget, then use donations and pledges to pay the city back over time.

City Administrator Richard Maslowski presented a 2013 capital improvement plan to the Common Council on Monday that includes $110,000 to build a permanent stage and secured storage structure on the southwest corner of the parcel just north of Parkway Elementary.

The cost and design of the new stage were recommended to the city by an ad hoc stage committee. Alderman Richard Wiese said that in a "big-picture" sense, the stage could someday be a community gathering place, similar to Hart Park in Wauwatosa.

"This is a stage that will be for Glendale," Wiese said. "This to me is step one for a multi-use family activity area for the city."

Mayor Jerry Tepper said that while he is supportive of the stage and the programs that use it - most notably the Music in the Glen concert series and Fourth of July celebration - he doesn't want to use city money to fund the replacement, especially when tight budgets have forced reductions in North Shore Fire Department staffing and equipment over time.

"I agree we need a concert stage, but I disagree with taking it out of city taxes," Tepper said. "I've spent the last seven years convincing my fellow chief executives (of the NSFD Board of Directors) that we just couldn't afford an extra $150,000 a year on our budget for the Fire Department."

"The stage should be paid for out of donations, not out of the city tax rolls," he added.

Maslowski said, however, that by including the stage as a place-setter in the capital plan the council can get the project moving forward.

"Rather than wait for (donations) this year, the city can fund the stage," said Maslowski, adding that most organizations pledge money over a span of several years instead of one, upfront lump sum. As those donations come in over time, the city can pay itself back.

Alderman Elliot Moeser lauded the idea, saying the plan "gives the council and mayor flexibility," and that the Music in the Glen series wouldn't survive if the city has to wait for donations.

"Without (the upfront funding,) we would be killing it," Moeser said.

The Common Council will finalize the city capital budget March 11. Maslowski noted that the council can change or postpone the stage replacement and change the capital improvement plan accordingly.

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