TID May Fund Playground Improvements

Sturgeon Bay’s Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee recommended Tuesday that $50,000 generated from the city’s Tax Increment District (TID) #10 be used to support playground improvements at Sawyer School.

TID #10 includes approximately 36 acres on the city’s west side, and Sawyer School is located within a half-mile radius of the TID’s boundaries where money raised from the district could be used for infrastructure, such as street and park improvements.

The project plan for TID #10 put together by R.W. Baird, the city’s financial consultant, included $100,000 for park improvements.

The Sturgeon Bay School District is currently raising funds to improve the playgrounds at both Sunrise and Sawyer schools. 

Appearing before the finance committee, Kendra Vandertie, who is with the district’s playground committee seeking to raise $1.25 million for the playground improvements at the two schools, said $433,000 has been raised so far.

“We’re about a third of the way there and [asking for the city’s] support because these are city playgrounds as much as school playgrounds,” she said. “The school district has money set aside for it as well. We’ve got many private donors, businesses [and] grants.”

The TID #10 funds could cover playground improvements at Sawyer School, but not Sunrise School, which is outside the half-mile TID boundary. But Vandertie suggested the city also help with funding for the Sunrise playground, perhaps by applying for grants.

“At Sunrise, that playground is the only playground in [Aldermanic] District 2,” she said.

City administrator Josh Van Lieshout said the existing equipment at Sawyer School is “well-used and dated” and “limits or prohibits students with mobility challenges from participating.”

“The purpose of the [fundraising] effort is to modernize and improve the play structures, replace worn apparatus, and improve accessibility for users with mobility challenges,” he said.

Van Lieshout said Sawyer School is an important asset to the community, and the existing sidewalk infrastructure is planned to be expanded in the future to bring sidewalk access to Willow Drive from South Lansing Avenue.