Should there be paid parking at Milwaukee Co. parks? Issue has been pulled from budget for separate vote

MILWAUKEE -- Visiting a Milwaukee County park could soon cost you. Paid parking is being proposed as part of the Milwaukee County budget to help boost revenue -- but the meter may have already run out on this idea.

Some supervisors said a hearing Tuesday morning could spell the beginning of the end for this issue.

"On a day like today, when people are stopping here just to see the waves and lakefront. They have to find other funds," Douglas Bomberg.

Bomberg had a few questions of his own about paid parking at county parks. He's a frequent visitor along Milwaukee's lakefront -- spending hours in the summer flying kites.

"This isn't going to work," Bomberg said.

Melissa Baldauff

A spokeswoman for Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's office said the pay-to-park issue was part of the budget approved by the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors 15-3. She said parking meters in areas such as along Bradford Beach could generate a minimum of $1.6 million a year.

"There haven't been any final decisions made about where the locations will be or where's paid parking or what the costs are going to be," Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic said.

Supervisor Dimitrijevic said not so fast, explaining that an amendment to the budget pulled the parking issue out for a separate vote, which hasn't happened yet.

"It was pulled out of the budget so it could get extra attention -- which it's receiving now -- and there could be extra scrutiny, extra transparency," Dimitrijevic said.

Marina Dimitrijevic

A committee will take up the issue Tuesday morning. Simultaneously, Dimitrijevic is proposing a parking meter moratorium along the lakefront to also stop this from being an issue in the future.

"This would be an $800,000 budget cut," Melissa Baldauff, spokeswoman for Abele said.

And closing that budget gap is perhaps the one thing both sides can agree will need to happen.

"We would have to find that revenue elsewhere," Dimitrijevic said.

In addition to the informational hearing Tuesday, there will also be another public hearing in February.