At least 20 people showed up at the Eble Park Ice Arena on Monday to learn about Waukesha County's plans for the park and share ideas for its future.
The open house was one of many being held regarding several Waukesha County parks whose master plans will be updated later this year, to guide developments over the next 20 years.
For Eble Park, one question is whether to raze the barn that was donated with the property decades ago. The county has determined that the cost of repairing structural issues and repainting the barn is high.
But what to do with the rest of the 15-acre park also is under consideration.
In the lobby off the ice arena, attendees speckled a map of the park with sticky notes detailing their ideas for developments. They suggested offering mini golf, an amphitheater, a coffee shop, a beer garden and a boardwalk raised to tree-top height.
Others favored a more conservative approach.
"Help us and the population come to remember what this area was like before the area became commercialized," one note read. "Keep the area green."
Another resident, Steve Weber, had a similar idea.
"I like it the way it is now — low density," Weber, who lives near the park, said. "I think we need to keep it open. We don't need to see how many things we can do here."
One poster board at the open house detailed the life of Florence Eble, a farmer who donated the land to Waukesha County in 1987.
A quote attributed to her read: "I know a lot of people look at this place and think it's worth a fortune and wonder why I sit here. But I'd just like to see a bit of God's earth preserved."
Claudine Setzke, who was clerk for the town in the late 1980s, said Eble had originally wanted the land to be rented to farmers. Setzke thought a farmers market would be a fitting addition.
The land already hosts a Master Gardeners program. The yields from the vegetable and herb gardens go the Food Pantry of Waukesha County.
Cathie Schmanski, a garden volunteer, said she hopes the history of the park is preserved.
"We would like to keep the barn, but we realize it's a tremendous expense and tax money only goes just so far," she said.
Submit your thoughts about Eble Park by taking an online survey at WaukeshaCounty.gov, and clicking on "Parks and Land Use" and then "Park System."
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