County Adopts Phase I of Fairgrounds Park Plan

The Door County Board of Supervisors approved the first phase of a plan for John Miles County Park after more than a year of meeting with the public and stakeholders. While it is more of a boundless wish list, the plan will set the course for future park assets the county hopes will drive a variety of uses at the property.

Ideas include everything from an indoor soccer and ice skating complex to a band shell and dance hall.

“Not all of these ideas can or will be done,” said county planner Becky Kerwin. “This was a visioning process that we went through.”

“Phase I is an excellent report of what is possible out there and to make decisions for the future,” said supervisor Richard Virlee. Kerwin and the other staff in the Land Use Services Department were unanimously praised for the thoroughness of the report.

“This whole plan is very indicative… of what can happen when you allow for the public to come in and share their opinions,” said supervisor Megan Lundahl. “It’s really refreshing to see all of that reflected in such an organized manner here.”

The county is also considering the purchase of 33 acres next to the county fairgrounds to expand uses, likely into a larger sports complex that could attract regional sporting events.

The county has already set aside money to pave the midway at the fairgrounds in 2018, which Virlee said could affect future uses at the park.

“There are decisions to be made before [paving] happens,” said Virlee, referencing a boulevard down the center of the park or reorganizing utility lines to better suit future uses.

The approved plan will now go back to the appropriate committee, which will shift as the county reorganizes its committee and department structure in the new year. The committee will then decide what projects to pursue and send those recommendations back to the county board. The plan drawn up by Kerwin and the department contains plans going forward 10 years.

County Planning Department Head Mariah Goode also presented a revised county floodplain ordinance at the recommendation of FEMA and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) following an audit of the department earlier this year.

“Nobody bothered to tell us that in 2009 the DNR wrote a new model ordinance so we’ve been regulating things incorrectly,” said Goode. “So we’re required to adopt this new updated language.”

Goode clarified that the changes are separate from FEMA’s new Great Lakes Coastal Flood Study maps rolling out over the next few years. Goode’s department has scheduled a meeting on Jan. 15 at 10 am in the Door County Government Center to go over the draft maps with affected homeowners and any members of the public who wish to attend.

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