Glendale — The Glendale Common Council on Monday allocated $10,000 for city administrators to come up with conceptual designs to convert a former dump at the western end of Bender Road into a park with a permanent stage.
Additionally, administrators from Nicolet High School pledged to partner with the city on the project so that the high school can build a baseball diamond and two softball diamonds on the property.
City officials estimate that the stage would cost about $140,000 and school officials estimate that the baseball diamonds would cost as much as $6.5 million, both of which would be funded through private donations.
The park and the stage would become the permanent home of Glendale's Fourth of July celebration, the Music in the Glen concert series and other community events.
"I think it puts to great use a piece of property that the city owns that is currently lying fallow and not currently doing anybody any good," Mayor Jerome Tepper said. "All in all, I think the concept here is wonderful as long as there are no city funds expended for the building of the stage."
Old stage unusable
City officials and members of the Stage Committee conceived of the plan while trying to find out how to replace the city's old portable stage. That stage, which was set up in the Milwaukee County-owned "glen" just north of Parkway Elementary School for Music in the Glen, was deemed unusable last year, Alderman Dick Wiese said.
The Stage Committee and the Common Council debated on whether to buy another portable stage or build a new permanent stage, and, if the latter, where to build it. Last month, the council gave preliminary approval to build a permanent stage in the glen.
However, Stage Committee chairman Gregg Herman on Monday presented the council with the new plan of partnering with Nicolet High School to build the stage at the old dump site. This idea of converting the old dump into a park has been proposed numerous times over the years, but Herman said that the partnership with Nicolet makes this proposal even more viable.
"This would be something that would be a tremendous benefit, the use of which goes far beyond what the original plans and thoughts were," Herman said.
Fields open to public
Kirk Krychowiak, athletic and recreation director at Nicolet High School, told the council that the school desperately needs to build a new facility for baseball and softball. He also said that the new fields would be made with state-of-the-art artificial turf and would be open to the community.
The funds for both the stage and the field will be generated through fundraising. Herman said that his goal is to get one company to contribute the entire $140,000 cost of building the stage in exchange for being able to put its name on it, but the stage might also be sold in pieces.
Numerous members of the council said that they would not approve of the project if relied on city funds, but they did accept the fact that infrastructure costs, such as building roads and gutters, would be part of the project.
"The nice thing about developing a city park is that this would be Glendale property and we would have complete control," said Wiese, noting that Kletzsch Park and the glen are county properties that must be rented for use.
City officials said that because the proposed site is on top of an old dump, the city must first get approval from the Department of Natural Resources before the project can move forward.
Music in the Glen will take place primarily at Bayshore Town Center and other places around Glendale this year, and the stage would not be ready until next year if the city can secure funding for it.
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