Kenosha County Board approves funds for Pike River restoration, Vets Memorial Park budget changes

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KENOSHA COUNTY ⏤ During a Tuesday evening meeting, the Kenosha County Board gave its approval to several measures to improve county parks.

The board approved:

  1. Department of Transportation easements in Old Settlers Park in Paddock Lake;
  2. Grant funding for Phase II of the Pike River restoration initiative in Petrifying Springs Park;
  3. 2021 budget changes to Veterans Memorial Park;
  4. And authorizing the Director of Parks to apply for grant funding through the DNR for capital improvements in Veterans Memorial Park.

Elsewhere on the agenda, supervisors also gave final approval to grant funding of $400,000 to the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department.

Old Settlers Park project

The DOT’s requested easements in Old Settlers Park concern Highway 50 in Paddock Lake, which is “contiguous both on the north and the south sides of Old Settlers Park,” Parks Director Matt Collins said last week.

DOT’s requested easements include:

  1. ¼ acre of highway easement; 
  2. .17 acres of temporary limited easement; 
  3. and .10 acres of permanent limited easement.

The DOT will also pay the county $9,400 for the easements.

The board unanimously approved the measure 22-0 Tuesday.

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Pike River restoration

In the last few years, the county has been working to restore the area around the Pike River in Petrifying Spring Park.

According to Dist. 1 Supervisor William Grady, the efforts started with the mission of creating a self-sustaining stream bed for the Pike.

Since then, the county has completed one phase of this restoration project already. 

However, the EPA has offered grant funding to the county Parks Division in order to finance a second phase of the restoration efforts.

According to Collins, this phase would cover approximately 3,280 linear feet “a little downstream” from where the first phase stopped, he told the Finance Committee last week.

The resolution also repurposes $122,000 of funds earmarked for Playground No. 4 equipment to go toward the relocation of a nearby walking bridge instead.

The board passed the resolution accepting the grant and repurposing the playground funds without dissent.

Vets Memorial Park project budget changes

Budget changes to Veterans Memorial Park, accounting for a half-a-million-dollar increase in overall cost, came before the board Tuesday.

At the time that the project had been budgeted for by the county, the overall cost had been thought to be around $2 million, Collins told committees last week.

However, as details have become clearer, that cost has risen by approximately $600,000. 

According to Grady, who serves as the chair of the county’s Public Works committee, most of that increase is due to improvements to the park’s parkway for veterans.

The $600,000 would come out of the division’s Parks Land Development Fund.

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Nudo objects to moving funds 

Dist. 12 Supervisor Gabe Nudo took issue with the perceived lax procedure and precision used in budget estimates and changes.

He voiced as much during the discussion of the Vets Memorial Park budget.

“Six months ago, this was passed a bunch of times as a 50/50 split for grants and funding at the cost of $2 million,” Nudo said. “Less than six months later, it’s a 30% increase. That’s such a large increase.

“And it seems like lately it’s  been a pattern that some projects are estimated way higher and some of them are lower, which the money can be switched from one place to another. I think it’s a pattern … but it’s time that we stop this route. And for me, the time is now. So I’m going to vote against this.”

While Nudo was the only supervisor to voice opposition, Dist. 22 Supervisor Erin Decker joined him in casting an opposing vote. 

However, the resolution passed 20-2. 

The board further unanimously approved Collins being able to apply for more grant funding for further Veterans Memorial Park improvements. 

Law enforcement grant funds

The board also unanimously approved a resolution to allow the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department to accept $400,000 in grant funding. 

The funding, coming from the federal government, is the county’s portion of $1 million given to the city.

The remaining $600,000 remains with the Kenosha Police Department.

The funds will be used by the county to reimburse costs accrued during the local “civil unrest” ⏤ as officials call it ⏤ during August and September 2020. 

As pointed out to the Finance Committee last week, the funds still leave the department about $300,000 short of recouping the total costs incurred during that time period.


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