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Ask NOW: How can the city get a park on the Sileno property?

Like the Sileno property, Fox Brook Park in Brookfield was formerly the site of a quarry. Now it is a county park where people can swim and use a mile-long paved path.

Like the Sileno property, Fox Brook Park in Brookfield was formerly the site of a quarry. Now it is a county park where people can swim and use a mile-long paved path.

Jan. 8, 2014

Is there a rumor you'd like tracked down? Rory Linnane answers some of the mysteries of life in Brookfield and helps solve everyday problems.

What can residents do to get

a park at the Sileno property?

Question: Interest in the Sileno property continues to be high, with another reader this week asking what she and others can do to get the city to build a park there. She wrote: "I was looking forward to another wonderful park on that property. I believe there are many residents that would pass a referendum allowing the city to buy parkland from this parcel."

Answer: An ordinance passed by the Common Council on Nov. 5, written and submitted by the Brookfield Residents Against the Dump group with 3,302 verified resident signatures, requires the city to get approval from the community through a referendum before it can acquire any property that has been previously mined or filled, like the Sileno property.

This ordinance sapped Super Excavators of the security they hoped for in grading the property with fill from the Zoo Interchange project and being able to sell the part hardest to develop to the city. Now Mark Regal, the leader of B.R.A.D., has his own plan for the land that he says could include creating a park without bringing in fill.

Mayor Steve Ponto said the city's plan has long been, and still is, to develop a park on that land. Whether Regal's plan is practical is yet to be determined.

Ponto said he and other city officials have met with Regal to discuss plans, but the details of how the park would be developed are still unclear. It will be critical to make sure there is enough grading done to make the park safe and stable. He said some earth removed for the multifamily housing development planned for part of the parcel could help fill in the area where the park would be.

The next step could be a concept review of Regal's proposal by the Plan Commission, though nothing is scheduled yet. When there is a specific plan, Ponto said, the city will submit it to a referendum; residents will have several opportunities to give feedback on the proposal before that occurs.

"They should know that the city has had a park there in long-term park plans for a couple decades, so we are oriented toward that," Ponto said. "Really if you think about it, 6.7 million cubic yards of sand and gravel were taken out of there. There's no way anyone will be able to develop 80 acres in any reasonable timeframe, so it makes sense to be some kind of preserve or park."

Email Rory Linnane with your question at rlinnane@jrn.com.

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