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Village re-evaluates sale of small parks

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Municipal building

This is a Dec. 23, 2014 file photo of the front door of the Lake Hallie Municipal Building.

LAKE HALLIE — Selling a couple of small parks is being reconsidered by the village of Lake Hallie.

Last year, the village’s Parks Recreation and Tourism Commission recommended selling several so-called “tot lots” because they were little used and some were falling into disrepair.

But in recent weeks some residents have taken issue with the sale of individual lots, saying that they are a valuable asset to their neighborhoods.

A “tot lot” is a small park generally occupying what would otherwise be a standard subdivision lot. These parks are scattered across the village in numerous subdivisions and provide playground equipment suitable for small children.

“We’ve had enough people come in who wanted to take over the maintenance or wanted the ‘tot lots’ left because they were being used,” said Village President John Neihart.

Monday night, the village held an informal discussion about the sale of “tot lots” as several residents had shared their concerns.

The village has more than 25 of these lots but is planning on selling seven of them. The idea is money from the lot sales could be invested to keep the remainder in a better condition.

“We just don’t have the funds,” board member Wayne Walkoviak said.

The Village Board approved of the sale of several lots in October. Notices of the sales were distributed with tax bills.

The for-sale lots vary in size from less than half an acre to nearly three. The appraisals of the lots range from $6,000 to $38,000.

Some of the lots on the sale list aren’t usable. Walkoviak said that one tot is on a hill that is completely wooded. Another lot is landlocked and isn’t well known.

“You probably don’t even know where it is,” Walkoviak said. “You can’t deny that we should move forward with the sale of some of these ‘tot lots.’ “

But not everybody is in favor of getting rid of the property.

Some get used everyday, according to people who live near them.

Rick and Linda Misfeldt live near one of the lots on 113th Street. That park is on the list of lots to be sold. But they said that the park is far from unused.

”I came home tonight and there were kids over there in this dang cold, swinging on swings,” Linda Misfeldt said.

The Misfeldts, and others, have agreed to take over maintenance of some “tot lots” in order to keep them. That way, the upkeep wouldn’t be an expense the village had to worry about.

Walkoviak said that is a plan he could get behind. “I’m all for that,” he said.

So far, the Village has agreed to spare two of the lots by turning over the care of them to the residents.

While the details of the agreement haven’t been ironed out, the Misfeldts and other residents in attendance seemed pleased with the progress.

”This is great to have a little park,” Misfeldt said of the 113th Street “tot lot.” “We never had one in the neighborhood where I grew up.”

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