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West Allis school and city officials kick start cooperative ideas

Governments work together on soccer and recreation initiatives

Jan. 14, 2014

West Allis — The West Allis-West Milwaukee School District and the city have cooperated on several fronts to improve recreational opportunities, starting with new school soccer facilities on city property.

Such cooperative efforts have extended to other elements in both governments, to the benefit of the public, officials said.

"We all serve the same taxpayers. We should cooperate," said city Development Director John Stibal, who helped work out the multifaceted agreement with the schools.

Soccer plans

It started with the district's quest for new soccer facilities to accommodate high school teams.

The city agreed to create two soccer fields behind the West Allis Police Station, 11301 W. Lincoln Ave., where an old landfill containing incinerator ash will be filled and landscaped. The state Department of Natural Resources has approved the project. The city will lease the fields to the schools for $1 a year.

Originally, the land was envisioned as a site for a complete soccer stadium, but neither the city nor the schools wanted to pick up the tab for environmental contamination if any should be discovered. The landfill fields will instead accommodate junior varsity games.

That still left the school district's need for a varsity field. In the regard, the city agreed to help the schools with a drainage system for a synthetic turf soccer field at the existing soccer field facilities at the athletic complex.

While the two fields are being created, JV soccer games and practices will be held at the two soccer fields at the city's Reservoir Park at about 96th Street and Mitchell Avenue, said Deb Rouse, director of business services for the schools. Under the agreement, the city will give the schools sole use of the soccer fields.

Recreational cooperation

The West Allis Little League hopes to add a third ball diamond at the park, but the schools and city agreed that once the league has raised $250,000 and is ready to begin construction within a year, the schools will turn over the fields to the league.

Another part of the agreement enables the schools to buy McKinley Park, at 72nd and Washington streets, for $1 to provide room for additional recreation activities there. The park that is has two ball diamonds and tennis courts. The city reserves the right to buy it back for $1 if the schools want to sell it and the right to buy back the northern part for $1 at any time.

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