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Milwaukee County Parks is planning to begin work on the redevelopment of the Kosciuszko Community Center in 2024.
Since 2020, the department has been planning for the long-term future of the community center at 2201 S. 7th St. in Kosciuszko Park. It has collected community input and developed a general plan — with the help of a study by Quorum Architects — for the redevelopment and future programming of the building.
After studying a number of options for the community center, Parks landed on a plan to rehab and expand the building with two additions. The total project cost, which would involve phased construction, was estimated at approximately $32.1 million in 2022. The department is attempting to break the needed improvements at the facility into “smaller chunks” in order to fit them into annual county budgets, as Jeremy Lucas, director of administration and planning told the Milwaukee County Board’s Budget Committee.
County Executive David Crowley included approximately $62,000 in his recommended 2024 budget for planning and design costs, with the intention to include $548,420 in the 2025 budget. These funds would cover improvements to the exterior of the building and entrance area, and new doors.
The 58,000 community center was built in 1981. It contains a weight room, boxing gym, gymnasium and community space. Parks has estimated that, without redevelopment, the building will need approximately $10 million worth of maintenance over the next 20 years, while the replacement value of the entire building is only estimated at approximately $11 million.
The general plans for redevelopment and expansion were based on input from the surrounding community. They include a bigger weight room, a new boxing and mixed martial arts facility, a renovated gymnasium, a dancing and fitness classroom, a new kitchen for cooking classes, new classrooms, maker space, rooms for tutoring, drop-in childcare, a food pantry, wellness space and social services offices to connect residents with resources and assistance.
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The Quorum study concluded that to meet the needs and desires of the surrounding community, the programmatic space at the community center would need to be roughly doubled. The proposed plan would increase this space from 27,484 square feet to 44,270 square feet.
“This will provide the necessary indoor space for the sports programs the community needs,” according to a Parks report from March 2022, “as well as the support space for multi-generational education programs.”
Correction: A previous version of this story stated the county executive’s 2024 recommended budget included funding for construction. That is incorrect, it only included funding for planning and design.