September 10, 2013 | 12:39 PMBLOOMFIELD — If you're lucky, you'll hear the bamboo drum-like calls of cranes echo across McKay's Park and Nature Trails, that weedy patch of land that doubles as a post-rainfall pond.
But evidently, the cranes are the only ones using the park, which offers nature trails across its 13 acres adjacent to Star Center Elementary School, W1380 Lake Geneva Highway.
In a Friday interview, Bloomfield Village President Ken Monroe said he'd like that to change.
"I've received phone calls from people asking why don't we have stuff like a park with a pavilion," he said.
Monroe said he would like to see a pavilion at McKay's Park, as well as a children's play area and a finished parking lot.
He said it's about time the village does something with the park.
"Before we can go forward, we have to have a delineation done," Monroe said.
As in wetland delineation, because storm water often collects in the park. Although he said it's been dry the past couple years, there was a torrential downpour in late June that flooded much of the park.
Monroe said he has approached the South Eastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) to conduct the delineation, "but they're swamped with requests."
Still, Monroe said he will pursue SEWRPC because he doesn't think they charge for wetland delineations.
But that's just one factor in deciding the future of McKay's Park.
The other is a stewardship grant from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Recently, the village board hired Clark Dietz Engineers, Kenosha, for $17,200 to complete the necessary steps for securing the grant — a village needs study, comprehensive outdoor plan, the grant application and a McKay's Park master plan.
Monroe said the first three steps are already finished. The study and the outdoor plan needed to be submitted with the application.
Work on the McKay's master plan continues, he said.
On Friday, Monroe mentioned four things he'd like it to include:
• A pavilion, roughly 30-by-40 feet.
• A children's play area.
• Picnic benches.
• A finished parking lot.
Which would cost what?
"It's really hard to say," Monroe said. "Just with what we would propose, I would expect $150,000 … No, you better put down $200,000."
The DNR grant would fund about half of that, he said.The rest would be covered by impact fees.
According to Monroe, the board established impact fees in 2004.
Whenever a new house was built in Bloomfield, $519 was charged to the property owner.
Monroe said that money is still available for the McKay's Park project.
Speaking of impact fees, in July, the board increased them from $519 to $900.
Then and now
It's been said that in the 1920s, the land which is now McKay's Park was once an 18-hole golf course.
Monroe said the 13-acre property that became McKay's Park was donated in 1995 by Gene Snow.
Snow had a condition, though, and it had to do with the legendary controversial race track proposal near Genoa City.
"Gene came to the town and asked if we would support the race track," Monroe said. "We did, so he found this piece of property and bought it."
Snow purchased the property from a trust in Arizona.
"He got it for a reasonable price, but it says on the deed that it has to stay as a park," Monroe said.
Today, McKay's Park has a nature path and shelters.
In 2001, local Boy Scouts worked on the walking path and installed bird houses.
Monroe said it was part of an area youth's Eagle Scout project.
Two years later, Bloomfield — which was a town back then — installed a boardwalk and three shelters along the path.
"The boardwalk was good because that area of the park there was the lowest part," Monroe said.
He said the Department of Natural Resources funded part of the project through grants. Originally, it was going to fund the entire park enhancement project, but the town wasn't able to carry out one aspect of the plan.
"The only thing we were missing were the water (drinking) fountains," he said. "There was no water and sewer extension to the park."
Did you know?
There are five parks in the village of Bloomfield, according to the comprehensive outdoor plan done by Clark Deitz Engineers, Kenosha.
n Bloomfield Community Park, located next to the village/town hall, N1100 Town Hall Road.
n Veterans and Children's parks, both located on Park Road across from Scotty's Service Station.
n Roller Rink Park, near the south beach of Pell Lake.
n McKay's Park and Nature Trail.
Three DNR wildlife areas are in the village, and one in the town of Bloomfield near the village border.
Engineer cost outline
*Village needs study — $5,650
*Comprehensive outdoor plan — $6,250
*DNR grant application — $2,300
McKay's Park and Nature Trail master plan — $3,000