Thiensville is working on a multi-million dollar upgrade to Village Park with many new amenities, including upgrades to existing offerings.
Director of Public Works Andy LaFond said it’s a “multi-year project” that will be completed in phases and largely depends on fundraising/funding.
Visitors to the park will be greeted by a metal arch with “Village Park” stenciled out once the first phase is completed this fall. Other than the arch and some path work, LaFond said the majority of the work is being done in spring 2017 and beyond.
An ad-hoc committee has been working on the project, officially called “Village Park Re-Imagined,” for some time. The committee is made up of LaFond, landscape architect Kerry Mattingly, Assistant Village Administrator Colleen Landisch-Hansen, President of the Junior Women’s Club Colleen Krueger and Wendy Kickbush.
LaFond said many local service groups have met with the committee to share their thoughts. He called them “super-users” of the park with their many events.
“We’ve gotten great feedback,” he said.
Additionally, LaFond said they are working with the Thiensville-Mequon Youth Baseball Association and will meet with the Chamber of Commerce next month.
The main goals and objectives proponents of the park project wish to reach include a basic refresh and update of the playground to help children learn as well as have fun. A “nature-inspired educational play area” is planned, according to documents on the village website. The site also mentioned the village’s desire for a “central gathering place” at the park.
Along with that is the desire to improve the infrastructure for community events. Part of that includes plans to address parking needs, renovate gazebos, and add more area for picnics. A “band shell” is also planned for late 2017 or early 2018, LaFond said.
Additionally, an interactive fountain on-site has been considered but would be built toward the end of the project, LaFond said.
It’s also a goal to have increased winter use. One of the planned additions to the park to facilitate that is an ice skating trail. LaFond said that could also be further out as well due to cost.
While he doesn’t yet have final numbers for all the planned work, LaFond estimated if everything proposed happened, it would cost between $2 million and $2.5 million. He said both the pedestrian arch/entry and the playground improvements cost around $50,000 each. Additionally, the band shell amphitheater is estimated to run around $150,000.
Some benefits presented on the city’s website for working on the park include revitalizing the community, fostering economic development, creating safer neighborhoods, offering more green infrastructure, promoting public health, and engaging the community.
It is also believed the work will help promote tourism as well as promoting arts and cultural programs, according to the website.
For residents interested in sharing their thoughts, the village website offers a link where submissions can be made.