The Journal Sentinel reported on Saturday that in his proposed 2011 budget, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is depending on $8 million from county land sales to make up for some expenditures the county needs to do, such as $6.6 million for renovating O'Donnell Park (the parking garage which had one of its panels fall off this summer). Of those land sales, Walker specifically mentions $3 million from the sale of Crystal Ridge and its ski hill. This number has significance, and it's $1 million less than the original $4 million figure I've been hearing the county has asked for several months ago. Here's why.
Over the next 10 years, Franklin will be getting approx. $7.5 million over 10 years from Waste Management. Furthermore, when it comes to community projects, there is a little over $3 million in impact fees that need to be utilized in some form sooner rather than later.
Enter in Crystal Ridge, which the Common Council back in Spring of this year authorized Mayor Taylor to begin negotiations with Milwaukee County for the site. The idea has been that the land can be transformed into a site for various field sports, like soccer and youth football. Due to a good chunk of the site being on top of a landfill, there are restrictions in terms of lighting installations and construction of buildings. None can penetrate the landfill's cap.
This particular project has been the brainchild of several people - Mayor Taylor, Parks Commission aldermanic representative and Alderman for the site, Tim Solomon, and developer Jim O'Malley, whose family owns land on nearby 76th & Rawson (Orchard View) and near the ski hill portion of Crystal Ridge. This idea was discussed months (if not years) before Citizens for Community Development (CCD) brought forward its concept for Froemming Park & the Milwaukee County Sports Complex, which Mayor Taylor has coined a "central park" for Franklin due to its centralized location in the city.
So it looks like the Common Council will be discussing several sites for sports activities in the near future, and to discuss the possibilities of where those impact fee dollars are going. On top of the Crystal Ridge issue, CCD will likely step forward and also propose that the city support its concept with some of those fee dollars as well. It makes sense when those dollars are available and collecting dust, and would be irresponsible of CCD not to ask as it continues to aggressively move forward with its concept.
At the end of the day, it's up to the aldermen as to what they want to do or commit and support. Crystal Ridge is on the northernmost edge of Franklin, with part of the overall site being in the Village of Greendale. CCD's concept is centralized in the city, near the Franklin Business Park, Franklin High School and a vast area of the community that while not developed presently will be with the Ryan Creek Interceptor, which could be built by 2015.
As I've said before, it's a very interesting time to be living in this community and watching this unfold.