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“Very sad:” After wheel tax rejected, popular aquatic center could close; petition launched to save it

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Schulz Aquatic Center

MILWAUKEE -- Funding for the Schulz Aquatic Center near Hampton and Green Bay in Milwaukee is drying up after controversial budget cuts, and could soon close. Some living nearby have signed a petition to keep it open, and they're rallying around it by the thousands.

When it's hot outside, the aquatic center in Lincoln Park is the place to be.

"If it were to close, it would be very sad," Barbara Moore said.

Moore takes her grandchildren to the aquatic center every year, and her niece and nephew work there. But after Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's controversial $60 wheel tax was rejected by the Milwaukee County Board and spending was slashed, Abele said there's little choice.

Schulz Aquatic Center

Schulz Aquatic Center

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele

"I didn't want to have to do that, which is why I proposed and urged the board to pass the budget we had," Abele said.

Abele said the rejected plan would have covered funding for line items like keeping the pool open.

In response to the potential closure, Danielle Breen launched a petition.

"In a week, we have about 4,000 signatures. This is a great resource for the neighborhood and it doesn't have to be taken away," Breen said.

Breen is the community organizer for the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation -- a group that advocates for stronger neighborhoods. She said 20,000 swim at the pool every summer.

Danielle Breen

Schulz Aquatic Center

"It's one of two pools on the north side of Milwaukee. It's the only water park on the north side of Milwaukee," she said.

There's also the question of why this pool, and why the north side.

"I don't think it's fair. I think you all need to re-look at your budget," Moore said.

Abele urged residents to call their county supervisors and ask that they reconsider. He said there are a number of other cuts and closures that will happen as a result of the budget.

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