The Park People - What we do as an organization

Nature of Organization:

The Park People of Milwaukee County, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose mission is to strive to enhance and protect Milwaukee County Parks, their resources and facilities; to develop wider public interest in and appreciation of the parks, open space and recreational facilities offered by the park system; to sponsor activities and projects that will enable citizens of all ages, interests, and backgrounds to make better use of the county parks; to encourage stewardship and development of individual parks and facilities by groups and individuals; to plan programs for members to acquaint them with the parks and their potential uses; and to accept and expend gifts of real or personal property exclusively for the benefit of the Milwaukee County Park System.

Community Need:

The Milwaukee County Park System is one of Milwaukee’s most treasured assets.  It provides recreational and aesthetic enjoyment for all of the citizens of the County.  Unfortunately, funding for our park system has eroded over the last 30 years.  Today’s budget is the same as it was in 1983.  Our parks are suffering terribly from this decline.  Athletic facilities which were once fields of dreams have become nightmares.  Natural areas have become over run with an onslaught of invasive species.  Many park buildings and structures have basic updating needs such as paint, glazing, roof replacement and heating plant renovations. 

The Park People of Milwaukee County has been working diligently for many years to return our parks to their former glory.  All of our programs are designed to engage citizens, businesses and corporations in the revitalization of our storied Park System through volunteer activities, varied funding strategies and public/private initiatives.  We believe that through our work we can bridge the gap between todays funding shortfalls and a truly vibrant system of parks that will offer quality recreational experiences for all citizens.  Our success will ensure that our parks stay viable for generations to come.

Our Programs:

  • Weed-Out

This program is a volunteer solicitation initiative designed to significantly reduce the proliferation of invasive plant species that are denigrating the beauty of natural areas in our parks.  Over the last year TPP has solicited over 750 volunteers to assist in the removal of invasive species such as Garlic Mustard, Dames Rocket, Burdock, Buckthorn and Asian honeysuckle.  Not only do we provide the tools and supplies, but we also educate the public about this severe threat to our park environments.

  • Friends Group Initiative

Through this program TPP assists interested individuals in the creation of Friends Groups for their neighborhood parks.  TPP provides direction, capacity building strategies and resources for these individuals and works as a liaison between their group and the Parks Department.   Ultimately, these groups work to promote and enhance their parks through volunteer efforts, fund raising, and events.  Over the years TPP has assisted in the formation of over thirty groups including; Lake Park Friends, Juneau Park Friends, Friends of the Domes, and most recently Doctors Park Friends.

  • Park Market

The Park Market is an opportunity for many Milwaukee County residents who choose to donate park enhancements such as a tree or park bench in memory or honor of a loved one or to commemorate a significant date in their lives. The Park People also work with donors who envision a larger scale park enhancement through the Park Market.

  • Funding support for Park Department projects

Through necessity, TPP has evolved to serve as a conduit for charitable contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals who understand that our parks are in dire need of financial assistance to offset the effects of a seemingly endless decline in property tax funding.  In the last ten years, TPP has facilitated and managed over 3 million dollars in donations that went directly to park programs, equipment purchases, facility enhancements and employee enrichment.