Franklin Park in Shawano
The Shawano Common Council may soon seek the input of voters on whether or not to pose a non-binding referendum for next April’s elections. A non-binding referendum means that despite the results of the vote, a decision to approve the referendum still remains with the council.
Parks and Recreation Director Matt Hendricks explains it’s a way for council to test the waters.
“It’s a great way to gain interest of the community, their desires,” said Hendricks. “It’s a great way for everyone as elected officials to see where the constituents stand on a project like this, something that’s fairly substantial. Both in finance, but also in scope and size, as far as services that can be offered in the future.”
The projected cost of the referendum would be $1.85 million dollars and would be put towards three identified areas.
“Over the last couple of years, we have in concept drawn out three fairly major parks: Franklin Park, Smalley Park, and then the idea of a splash pad,” Hendricks laid out for council. “This would complete the build out of Franklin Park, so things like the stage area, the performance venue…everything in the original plan would be included.”
Hendricks says some funds would also go towards the finishing of Smalley Park.
“The main piece there would be a structure very similar to what we have a Huckleberry Harbor, Eberlein Park, Martzke Park, bathroom facilities, a rent-able picnic shelter, picnic space, storage space, this would also have exterior showers in the building to accommodate beach users.”
Finally, some of the money would be put towards a splash pad for the community, which is something the parks and recreation department has expressed interest in providing the community for a while.
“Ultimately it’s a playground with water features,” said Hendricks. “It’s being viewed as a replacement to our current wading pool. Very heavily used, but also has a life span, and to be honest, it’s probably getting to the end of it. We would remove that. We would put this at that site at Memorial Park, a very active Park. It’d be a water feature.”
In essence the completion of construction for these parks will take place regardless of a non-binding referendum. Estimates from City Administrator Brian Knapp projects the completion of the parks would be 8-10 years through the normal CIP Budget.
“The question then to the community is would you prefer to do it now, pay for it now, pay for it over the next several years but get it done, or would you rather pay for it over time and wait for the build out to occur,” Knapp posed.
Last night council voted to approve the motion to move forward with a non-binding referendum, and will now prepare a referendum question for the community.