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Nicolet, Glendale to begin talks on shared park

If all goes well, construction could start in 2015

Dec. 17, 2013

Glendale — If all goes according to plan, the city of Glendale and Nicolet School District could break ground on a jointly developed park, sports complex and concert stage in 2015.

In May, the Glendale Common Council authorized city staff to begin planning of a permanent stage — to replace the city's decommissioned portable trailer stage — and park at a city-owned former landfill site on the western end of Bender Road. The Nicolet School Board in August, albeit with some reservation, approved a recreational facilities study to address its lack of space, and on Monday authorized district administrators to begin negotiations with city officials about the Bender Road site.

A decade-old space analysis found that Nicolet has about 40 percent of the space a typical new high school would require for recreational programs. District officials see reuse of the landfill site, which was closed and sealed off with an "earth cap" in the 1970s, as a way to rectify Nicolet's recreational needs with its currently too-small facilities.

"From the school's perspective, we see this as an opportunity to expand," Nicolet Superintendent Robert Kobylski said. "We're very constrained with our land-locked campus now."

Details need working out

The School Board's action Monday night allows district staff to begin negotiations with the city over particulars like rental rates, maintenance responsibilities and ownership, Kobylski said.

Once officials come to an agreement on those particulars a Master Facility Planning Committee composed of representatives from nearly all of Nicolet's sports programs and city Community Development Director Todd Stuebe will begin to flesh out plans for the park.

However, Kobylski added, the design process will need to be deliberate.

"We want to do the right thing, not the quick thing," Kobylski said. "We're going to be thoughtful in our analysis, knowing that we have to get 50 years of use out of this facility."

Meanwhile, as part of its 2014 capital improvement plan, Glendale will be making improvements to Bender Road west of Green Bay Road to set the stage for the project. The improvements will include a street rebuild and new utility infrastructure like water and storm sewer mains, curb and gutters, as well as lighting and sidewalk on the south side of Bender.

The city will also be working with the state Department of Natural Resources on a "geo-technical" study which will determine the environmental restrictions on the site resulting from its prior use as a landfill.

City Administrator Richard Maslowski said that if the Glendale council and Nicolet board can agree to development and operation plans in 2014, it would be his hope to break ground in 2015.

Regardless of what Nicolet decides, the city is committed to at least building the stage and possibly a children's play area on the site, Maslowski added.

Private funding planned

According to Kobylski, Nicolet plans to use private fundraising and tools like paid naming rights as ways to fund the park.

"In no way, shape or form will the development of this property have an effect on our operating budget or instructional programs," Kobylski said.

In addition, the district may break the project down into "manageable chunks" to complete as fundraising allows.

"It's important to determine that long-term vision and then put the pieces in place to make it a reality," Kobylski said.

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