NEW BERLIN - Due to lack of funds, a large long-planned park in the sparsely populated southwestern corner of New Berlin won't become a reality after all.
And the sale of land that had previously been set aside for Quarry Park, 20685 W. National Ave., could help fund the expansion of what is currently the city's largest park, off Calhoun Road in the heart of the city.
Seventeen years ago, the city bought 117 acres in southwestern New Berlin to eventually be developed into a park. However, despite that span of time, the city hasn't been able to come up with park development money.
Now, city officials are exploring selling the land and perhaps using the money to expand Malone Park in the middle of the city. The potential parkland some officials have their eye on is at the southeast corner of Calhoun and Coffee roads and it's for sale.
If Quarry Park were to be developed, it would be the largest park in New Berlin, Mayor Dave Ament said. The current largest is Malone Park, at just shy of 100 acres. Quarry Park's 117 acres encompasses two lakes.
But the land isn't flat enough for ballfields, he said.
The parks and recreation commission decided years ago that Quarry Park would cost more than the city will be able to afford to make into an actual park, said Ament.
So far, the city has invested nearly $1.3 million to buy and to somewhat develop the park, according to background information supplied to aldermen. About $830,000 came from park and open space fees developers pay when they build in the city, Ament said.
The southwestern corner of New Berlin will likely be developed, eventually, but at this time there are no plans to replace the parkland there, he said.
So Ament doesn't see any reason why the city should hold onto the land any longer.
"We have nearly $1.3 million into it, and the public can't use it," he said. "The money would be better used in the central part of the city where more people can access it."
Alderman Ken Harenda also was pessimistic about chances that the city would ever have enough money to develop Quarry Park.
"There is no money in existing or future budgets to develop the park," Harenda said.
Harenda noted that that the area is served by other parks.
"A park is down the road from that area," he said, referring to Waukesha County's Minooka Park, 1927 E. Sunset Drive, in Waukesha and New Berlin.
There is also Waukesha County's Muskego County Park, S83 W20370 Janesville Road, Muskego, he added.
Neighbors would likely not be upset if Quarry Park isn't developed, Harenda said.
"I reached out to some neighbors to get feedback," he said.
Land's future use?
What neighbors are concerned about is what will happen with the land, Ament said.
The city tends to favor some kind of conservation subdivision where homes would be grouped together on smaller, perhaps half-acre lots, keeping about 75 percent of the tract as it is today, he said.
A soil study has shown that the tract could support as many as 26 homes on half-acre lots, each with its own septic system.
In any case, the city won't just sell off the Quarry Park land, Ament said. It would need to approve what a potential buyer wants to do with it first.
"We will need a master development plan at the point of sale," he said.