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Should camping be allowed at Bradley Park?
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No 53%  53%  [ 8 ]
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:08 am 
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The city of Tomahawk Park and Rec Committee is gathering data on a possible campground in Bradley Park. The idea came out of public planning sessions that addressed the underutilization of the park and a potential revenue stream. (There's a story in the Nov. 8, 2011, Tomahawk Leader.) There is vocal opposition to the proposal, with worries that the park will be destroyed. How do you feel about the idea?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:10 am 
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Note: this ran as a Letter to the Editor in the 11-8-11 Tomahawk Leader:

Re: The planned destruction of Bradley Park as we know it. Explanation of how the plans to develop Bradley Park are deeply flawed.

Last week a news article announced that Jim Holperin had toured Bradley Park with a few concerned citizens. In that article it was stated by Ray Zindrick that the plans being proposed by the Parks and Recreation Committee and the director of Public Works were “deeply flawed.” … Mr. Zindrick (at a meeting Sept. 5) clearly stated many negative points on the placement of camping sites, considered a “potential revenue stream” would become a logistical and economic disaster for the city. If the $1.4 million estimated price tag is not enough reason to pause, then maybe the following will further explain why the proposal and the preparation of a business plan are a bad idea.

The area of Bradley Park that would be changed to accommodate the sites is very undesirable due to: the close proximity to the CN tracks and trains that annoy everyone with their horn blasts…, the constant transit of heavy trucks on S. Tomahawk heading for the PCA Mill adds another huge noise factor, add in the pneumatic pounding of the truck and trailer repair shop and the heavy traffic during shift changes at the PCA mill will make overnight stays a challenge. In addition, the footprint of the plan in the small area of land available for the stated numbers of sites are not possible unless major contouring and clearing of trees are done, which would increase the cost and destroy the aesthetics of the property. The views from the sites would look out over Tomahawk’s recycling area... Also, … Mirror Lake would have to be brought back from its putrid and dead state... Another delicate part of the plan would involve the large wetlands adjacent to the sites and the resident Sand Hill Cranes that nest there every year…
The next points discussed involved a copy of the original deed … only one of the (committee) members had actually seen the two page document dated 1922 (which) clearly states: If Bradley Park is used for any other purpose than what is stated or with an expectation of revenue, then the original deed will be voided. The legal status of this deed is under review...

The residents of Frenchtown have been polled and … overall they are not in favor of changing the park into a “revenue stream” that will be used to keep the rest of the city parks operating. The residents affected … are unanimous in support of other ways to implement a revenue stream. Their opinion is to develop a favorable and parallel stream with the other parks... This seemed an acceptable compromise and hopefully any further planning will follow that parallel route.

The committee has an open forum at the beginning of their meeting Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. … comments have to be offered during that forum and are limited to 5 minutes. Anyone with comments to make are encouraged to participate, so please plan on attending.

Ray Zindrick
Tomahawk


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:51 am 
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If Tomahawks Parks and Recreation Dept. want`s pump some new life into Bradley Park, they should consider the observation tower that has been discussed many times on this message board. There might even be some state tourism money available? :?:
'
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:39 am 
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As someone that's trying to clean up the trails in the park for silent sports activities, I would be lying if I wasn't concerned about the campground study. However, I am also willing to keep an open mind and try see both good and bad outcomes of this happening. I personally think the Parks and Rec Committee is doing the right thing and taking the appropriate steps in determining whether or not this is the right thing to do and they were the first to say that if this wasn't going be a good use of the park that they would have no problem pulling the plug. I understood clearly that this is mainly a concept at this time not a "planned destruction of the park as we know it" As far as an observation tower goes, do you realize how tall you would need to make it just to get it above the treeline? I think an observation deck on the hogsback or finishing the trail out to the point that can be reached by all would be more appropriate.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:34 pm 
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The trail to the point would be a nice idea, along with a tower that would draw people to the park. Imagine the view you would have overlooking Lake Mohawksin and the city. Personally I would prefer not to see camping in the park. It is nice to go there and enjoy the peace and quiet. Many times I have picked up some lunch and driven to the park just to sit and eat while enjoying just being there.

Why does the city want to compete with the private businesses who have camp sites. Lets just put someone out of business and spend a lot of taxpayers money doing it. :roll: Is it worth the expense and the abuse the park would take. I wonder if they have ever considered how many years it would take to recover the initial cost.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:53 am 
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You have a good point old scout. need to fix the trails going out to the point as there has been a ton of errosion and the tree canopy there may be just low enough at the end to put up a tower or something to that. You're also make good point about the local campground business. After reading your post I picked up the travel tomahawk guide that the chamber (I believe) puts out each year....there are a lot of camgrounds in the area...I mean a ton of them. I wonder if it would even be worth it? I guess we wait it out and see what happens next.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:06 pm 
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Don't even think about it
I have been a user of Bradley Park for the last 17 years. I have enjoyed it for photography, biking, hiking, picnic, walking, nature watching and just getting away for a while. Now I hear about this proposed campground. WHAT?
We're talking about a park set aside years ago by a true visionary! Clearly the legacy Mr Bradley has set aside is an asset to Tomahawk. Think of how many towns would kill to have this much untouched land within the city limits. It's truly rare! Clearly this is something that should be preserved as a park, with usage appropriate for a park. Others have already noted ideas appropriate for the park, such as trail upgrades, and I like the tower idea a lot. This is something that other parks have done with success, and due to the tall trees it'd probably fit in just fine. I'll bet a lot of others have good ideas not mentioned yet.
Please leave the campground out. I like Bradley Park as she sits!

Now on the campground idea. I suggest letting each entity do what they do best. That is letting the City Park Dept. run the park and let business owners run commercial ventures. Maybe if Tomahawk needs a campground the City could offer incentives for someone to open a new campground elsewhere on Lake Mohawksin or?? Yes, I'm a strong believer in tourism and the out of area dollars it brings to Tomahawk. At a minimum a campground brings buyers of food, gas, firewood, sporting goods, clothing, event attendees etc so I'n not opposing it, however there are other sites to investigate.
I caution against the commercialization of Bradley Park or any part of it. I spend plenty of tax dollars in Tomahawk and I don't think Bradley park for rent by the night is a needed revenue stream.
Bradley Park is a wonderful example of what can be done by a true visionary long before the need for open space was seen as necessary or even desireable. I will do whatever I can to keep this vision alive!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:26 am 
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I've said it before and I'll say it again....NO CAMPING. I agree Old Scout, I too enjoyed peaceful moments at Bradley Park. That would be lost. City Council doesn't seem to think maintaining the tranquility is important. It's a business decision to promote Tomahawk.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:35 pm 
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I've been attending meetings on this since discussions began back in 2009 and would like to add a few things on why camping is being considered in Bradley Park.
First, I also really enjoy Bradley Park and spend a good bit of time there in the summer and cross country skiing there in the winter. It is indeed a great asset to our community.
The main reason camping is being considered in Bradley Park is in order for the city to maintain what already has in its parks system, a new revenue stream needs to be created. Just like everywhere else, the Parks Department budget has been cut more and more over the past several years. Just last year alone, two very nice new amenities were donated in a roof for Old Engine 19 in Toddler Park and a new pavilion in Veterans Memorial Park. While these were great additions to the parks, the long term maintenance cost were not factored into the city accepting the donations. Some cities require something like $150,000 be paid as part of putting up a say $80,000 pavilion in a park. While this does cover the long-term maintenance cost, it doesn't necessarily motivate volunteer groups to make such charitable donations. Plus, it doesn't help with the several facilities that already exist in the park system.
The Parks Comm. held two Visioning Session in 2009 where the public was invited to offer suggestions about the park system and what they would like to see added in the future. It was through these Visioning Sessions the idea of Bradley Park camping came about. A look out tower was addressed and is part of a proposed boat museum/community center that could be built near SARA Park if a revenue stream is created. Other possibilities proposed for the parks include a bathroom/changing room at Frenchtown Beach, enhancing the Skateboard Park in Pride Park, returning toboggan trails to Bradley Park and the list goes on and on. These are just a few of several proposed improvements that could be added to the parks if a revenue stream is established. On a side note, the Finance Comm. proposed cutting part of Summer Rec. program last week to balance the 2012 city budget. Again, another example of the need to generate revenue.
Camping at Bradley Park (including additional campsites and improvements to those that already exist at SARA Park) wasn't the only new revenue stream suggested. The Committee is currently in the process of creating "user fees" for renting pavilions in the parks. While no exact costs have yet been determined ($150 was the amount discussed) a portion of the funds would be designated for long-term maintenance of the building rented, another portion would be designated for maintenance of all the parks system, and say $50 would be returned as down payment.
Getting back to camping at Bradley Park, UW-Extension Lincoln County conducted a feasibility study a couple months back to look into whether it would create unwanted competition with area private sector campgrounds. The study revealed most area campsites are reserved for extended periods of time during the summer, meaning the Bradley Park campground, which would limit extended stays to only a couple weeks, would service an entirely different market. The reason visits would be limited is to avoid campers from "making home" of a campsite. The city also had an economic impact study conducted to determine whether the park would cash flow. As proposed, the park would be developed in stages so funds raised could pay down debt as it is built. The city is currently in the process of looking into more detailed numbers to determine whether or not a campground would be a sound investment.
Along with new pavilion roofs and maintenance, the city has had to cut summer help over the years from eight to three positions this past summer. A good number of citizens have been working to make the city a more attractive place over the past several years. As part of those efforts, the city has been enforcing municipal codes that require lawns on private property to be maintained. If budgets continue to shrink and more summer help positions are eliminated, the city would likely not be able to maintain its own property. Along with not being able to enforce its own city code, the city was also informed recently the volunteer group that plants and maintains many of the flowers that adorn the downtown area in the summer might need help in the future as its members age. Again, without a new revenue stream this wouldn't likely be a project the Parks Department would take on with a reduced staff.
Camping in Bradley Park wasn't something proposed to make a lot of money for the city. It was proposed more out of necessity as a way to maintain what already exists in the parks and possibly one day add new amenities that could benefit residents and youth in the community. If the campground is built, it could have far reaching effects on the city extending much farther than the borders of Bradley Park.
I also want to add camping is being considered near Mirror Lake and not in the main portion of the park where most daytime visitors go. Plans are to select-cut trees in order to make the campsites less obtrusive and more attractive to campers. That being said, a campground in Bradley Park would certainly increase foot traffic in the park. It would forever change the serenity many of us enjoy. But on the other hand, if a new revenue stream isn't generated, all the city's 11 parks might someday provide a great place to go to find plenty of serenity.
This is no doubt a tough issue for those of us who frequent Bradley Park regularly for its serene beauty. Hopefully much more discussion from both sides will take place before anything goes forward. I apologize for the length of this posting. I understand why many would like to keep the park as it is now. I just wanted to get out there some of the reasons as I understand why the campground is being considered.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:03 am 
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Just a couple of comments in regard to mrbrowns post.

First of all, I was involved in putting the roof over old No. 19. One of the prerequisites was that it be as maintenance free as possible. thus the steel beams and roof so the the roofing doesn't have to be replaced for many years and the only upkeep might some day be repainting the posts. The city had made the decision as I understand it, that the engine needed to be refurbished and protected or they intended to scrap it. The Historical Society went out on a limb and went forward with the plan to repair, paint and cover the engine because they felt it was an important part of the community. Fortunately they received a rather large grant that put them over the top and made the project possible with out breaking the group in the process. It they had been required to put up an additional $50 to $100,000.00 for upkeep the engine would probably be in a scrap yard somewhere. Somehow this sounds like the old saying of "cut off you nose to spite your face". There are many things that happen in our city because of volunteer organizations that would not happen if we relied on the city to do it, but now they want to discourage them from stepping forward to improve the community.

My second concern is the charging the exorbitant amount to use the park facilities. I just can't see a group paying that much to use the building in Bradly park or one of the pavilions at memorial park for a family party. They will just go elsewhere and The park will be even less used. I can see a reasonable fee but this is not reasonable. :roll: Can you just imagine the music in the park group having to pay $150.00 each week to provide a free concert for the community. As I recall that goes on for six weeks. Guess what folks, it isn't going to happen and it will be the communities loss. :roll:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:32 pm 
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I think Old Scout nailed it on the head. Requiring non-profit organizations to put up $150,000 for a $70,000 pavilion so long-term maintenance is factored into accepting a donation does not encourage the construction of new amenities in the parks. The Parks and Rec. Committee is trying to avoid this by creating a revenue stream (user fees or a campground) to avoid making this a requirement for adding to the parks in the future. I should also note all revenue generated from the fees or campgrounds would stay in the Park Department's budget.
The $150 user fee was just a number put out there, so I'm not sure if that is what would be settled on. I also wonder if $150 would be too high, and what would keep people from just using the pavilions without reserving them with the city. I also should note the non-profit organizations that donate structures to the city are exempt from having to pay the fee to use their buildings. I'm a member of Tomahawk Fishing Unlimited and we do not have to pay to use the pavilion we donated in Veterans Memorial Park.
Also, great job on Old Engine 19, Old Scout. You and the Tomahawk Historical Society deserve a lot of credit for saving a Tomahawk landmark. I see the Christmas lights are back on it again. For a while there it didn't look like that would ever happen again.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Just curious if every time someone goes to the park for a picnic are they going to be charged for using the pavilion ? After all it is supposed to be a public park and if some family and their kids take a picnic lunch there while the kids are fishing is the park dept. going to come along and tell them they have to pay or leave the pavilion? This could become the proverbial slippery slope where one thing leads to another. Who is going to determine who has to pay and who doesn't ? The next thing will be a fence around it and being charged admission to go into the park. Where does it end ?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:18 pm 
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I suspect this would be a lot like using Sara Park (the building) or like reserving a pavilion in many other cities. Even back in '97 when I worked at City Hall you had to reserve Sara Park and pay a fee.

Just using the pavilion wouldn't cost anything but you wouldn't have it reserved. If an group or organization did reserve it, then they have priority to use it.

When I graduated from UWEC about ten years ago we had our grad party at a park pavilion and had to pay to reserve a pavilion and we had to pay for a permit to have liquor too. The notification reserving the pavilion and permit also let the city know we were going to be there so they could have the police swing by to be sure we shut down at the proper time, cleaned up, etc. They never got out of their car, just watched to make sure we cleaned up and no one drove drunk. Even back then I think it cost us about $100 (although that's a bigger city too).


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:37 pm 
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Quote:
I should also note all revenue generated from the fees or campgrounds would stay in the Park Department's budget.


Isn't this what they said about Social Security ? ? :lol:

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:33 pm 
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I think I heard on the radio that the Tomahawk's Park and Rec was holding a meeting to develop a business plan for camping at the park. Sounds like a done deal.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:30 am 
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Some people took a petition down to the last council meeting in an attempt to protect the park from camping and other "improvments." Denied. Like I said in the last post "Done deal."


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:02 pm 
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Someone needs to talk to the local campground owners and see what percent of sites are filled on a regular basis. For example the campground out at the race track which I believe has 100 sites. With that many sites close by why does the city have to compete with them and try to take business away from them. I am sure there are more than enough campgrounds in the surrounding are to take care of all the campers we will ever see in Tomahawk.

Sounds like just an excuse to log the park, make a few bucks and turn it into a business.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:19 pm 
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Old Scout,

I think one of the things that has been really hurting Tomahawk businesses is that so many of the campgrounds and resorts have closed. Not because they aren't making money, but because it's more profitable to sell of the land in individual chunks than as a whole.

That's basically what happened with Bit-o-the-North and the large campground in town. They could make more money on the sale if they broke it up.

There are far fewer tourists than the area used to get and tourism was one of the big ways the town brought new money into the local economy...

If this goes through I'll actually start working to convince my friends to do our annual Memorial Weekend camping trip in Tomahawk. We go to a different public campground every year but we've never even considered anything in the area before. As long as it allows tents, small campers and has toilets and a shower it will be a great fit for us and I might finally be able to go see the car show (heck, maybe I'll even enter my Spitfire).


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