The board of park commissioners is empowered and directed:
To govern, manage, control, improve and care for all public parks, parkways, boulevards and pleasure drives located within, or partly within and partly without, the corporate limits of the city, and secure the quiet, orderly and suitable use and enjoyment thereof by the people; also to adopt rules and regulations to promote those purposes.
To acquire in the name of the city for park, parkway, boulevard or pleasure drive purposes by gift, devise, bequest or condemnation, either absolutely or in trust, money, real or personal property, or any incorporeal right or privilege; except that no lands may be acquired by condemnation for the purpose of establishing or extending a recreational trail; a bicycle way, as defined in s. 340.01 (5s)
; a bicycle lane, as defined in s. 340.01 (5e)
; or a pedestrian way, as defined in s. 346.02 (8) (a)
. Gifts to any city of money or other property, real or personal, either absolutely or in trust, for park, parkway, boulevard or pleasure drive purposes shall be accepted only after they shall have been recommended by the board to the common council and approved by said council by resolution. Subject to the approval of the common council the board may execute every trust imposed upon the use of property or property rights by the deed, testament or other conveyance transferring the title of such property to the city for park, parkway, boulevard or pleasure drive purposes.
Subject to the approval of the common council to buy or lease lands in the name of the city for park, parkway, boulevard or pleasure drive purposes within or without the city and, with the approval of the common council, to sell or exchange property no longer required for its purposes. Every city is authorized, upon recommendation of its officers, board or body having the control and management of its public parks, to acquire by condemnation in the name of the city such lands within or without its corporate boundaries as it may need for public parks, parkways, boulevards and pleasure drives. The power of condemnation may not be used for the purpose of establishing or extending a recreational trail; a bicycle way, as defined in s. 340.01 (5s)
; a bicycle lane, as defined in s. 340.01 (5e)
; or a pedestrian way, as defined in s. 346.02 (8) (a)
To change or improve all parks, parkways, boulevards or pleasure drives within the city limits, controlled by the board, at the expense of the real estate to be benefited thereby, as provided in s. 27.10 (4)
In any city having no board of park commissioners its public parks, parkways, boulevards and pleasure drives shall be under the charge of its board of public works, if it has such last named board; otherwise under the charge of its common council. When so in charge, the board of public works or the common council may exercise all the powers of a board of park commissioners.
In every city having no city plan commission under s. 62.23 (1)
, the common council may provide that the board of park commissioners, if there be such board in the city, shall have the powers enumerated in s. 62.23 (2)
. The territory over which the city is given platting jurisdiction by s. 236.10 (1) (b) 2.
shall for street, park, parkway, boulevard, pleasure drive and platting purposes be extended to 3 miles beyond the city limits. For the purpose of carrying out s. 62.23 (2)
in said extended zone the common council may appropriate out of any available fund a sufficient sum to be used by said board for hiring engineers, surveyors and draftsmen, and other necessary help and assistants in making a comprehensive map of the said city and zone so as to put in concrete form the ideas of the said board as to how future dedications, openings and plattings of streets, highways, boulevards, pleasure ways and parks, or other public improvements or thoroughfares, shall be made; which said map, when adopted by the common council, shall serve as an advisory guide to the said board of park commissioners in making recommendations to the common council in the future as to approving plats, and shall not be departed from except in cases of necessity or discovered error therein.
Whenever the common council of any city determines to improve any street, avenue or boulevard, the board of public works, or if there be no such board, the officer or officers authorized to make such improvement, may, as a part thereof set aside a portion of such street, avenue or boulevard for park purposes, and determine, subject to the approval of the board of park commissioners, if there be such a board, in what manner the portion so set aside shall be improved. The damages and benefits resulting from such entire improvement, including the cost of the improvement of the part of such street, avenue or boulevard so set aside shall be assessed to the several parcels of land affected thereby as provided by law in such city for such assessments. Any report required to be made and filed respecting such improvement shall include a detailed statement of said determination and the approval thereof by said board.
The board of park commissioners of any city may conduct public concerts within its public parks and pay the expenses thereof out of the park fund. A fee for admission may be charged for the purpose of defraying such expenses in whole or in part.
The board of park commissioners of any city of the 1st class where there has been hitherto established a driving club or similar organization in connection with any park under the direction of said board of park commissioners may conduct horse races and driving exhibitions within its public parks and pay the expenses and cost of trophies therefor out of the park fund. A fee for admission may be charged for the purpose of defraying such expenses in whole or in part. Chapter 562
does not apply to any race under this paragraph.
See also ss. NR 47.01
, and 47.30
, Wis. adm. code.
A county has full power and control over county park lands even though they are located within the limits of a city. 60 Atty. Gen. 282.
A city may not delegate its powers under ss. 27.08 and 27.09 to a county park commission created under s. 27.02, et seq. 61 Atty. Gen. 229.
City forester, duties; tree planting. 27.09(1)(1)
The board of park commissioners of every city may employ a city forester to take charge of and direct, subject to its supervision and control, all of the work authorized to be done under this section. It may also designate a municipal employee to perform the duties of city forester.
The common council shall include in its annual budget such sum as it deems necessary, if any, to meet all expenses of doing said work during the following fiscal year, including the salary of the city forester and the compensation of employees assisting the city forester, but not including amounts assessable to abutting property; and the taxes levied to provide for such expense shall be in addition to all other taxes for park and boulevard purposes.
The board may plant, transplant, remove, trim, spray and otherwise care for and protect all trees and shrubs on or in that part of every street, the grade of which has been established, lying between the lot line and the curb, or in the center or side plots in all boulevards and parkways, and in all public parks or grounds belonging to the city and control all such planting and transplanting by others. The board may guard all trees within the city so as to prevent the spread of disease or pests and to eliminate dangerous conditions, and may proceed pursuant to subs. (4)
Whenever the board proposes the setting out, planting or removing of any such living shade tree, it shall give 2 weeks' written notice to the owner of the lot or parcel of land on which such tree stands or will stand, or the owner's agent, or, if neither is known and there be a tenant occupying said property, then to such tenant, of a time and place at which said contemplated work will be considered by the city forester, specifying in detail the street, avenue or boulevard and portion thereof, upon or from which trees are proposed to be planted or removed, and the general nature and character of the changes and improvements contemplated. After such hearing, the city forester, subject to the direction of the board shall abandon said work or proceed with it as the city forester believes the best interest of the public requires.
The entire or any part of the cost of protecting, trimming, spraying, planting, renewing and removal of trees and shrubs between the lot line and the curb in front of any lot or parcel of land abutting on a street, avenue or boulevard may be chargeable to and assessed upon such lot or parcels of land. The governing body shall hold a public hearing on the proposed assessment, and shall give notice thereof in such city or village, by publishing a class 2 notice, under ch. 985
The board shall keep a strict account of the cost of planting, protecting, renewing, removing, trimming, spraying and caring for trees and shrubs in front of each lot or parcel of land abutting on any street, avenue, or boulevard, and prior to November 10 in each year, shall make a report to the comptroller in cities having such an officer, and in other cities to the common council, of all work done for which assessments have been made as hereinbefore provided stating and certifying the description of land, lots, parts of lots or parcels of land abutting on a street, avenue or boulevard in which any such work shall have been done, and the amount chargeable to each such piece of property; and the comptroller at the time of making the comptroller's annual report to the common council of the lots or parcels of land subject to special assessments shall include therein the lots or parcels of land so reported to the comptroller by the board of park commissioners with the amount chargeable thereto for work done during the preceding year.
The amounts so reported directly or through a comptroller to the council shall be levied on said lots or parcels of land, respectively, to which they are chargeable and shall constitute a lien thereon and shall be collected as other special taxes are levied and collected in the city. The board shall advance out of the park or other proper fund sufficient money for doing said work and said special assessments shall be credited to said fund of said city and shall not be diverted or used for any other purpose.
History: 1991 a. 316
Taxation and finance. 27.10(1)(a)(a)
The board of park commissioners in every city under 150,000 population shall, prior to October 1 in each year, make an estimate of the expenditures by said board during the ensuing calendar year including all necessary incidental expenses, and also an estimate of the amount necessary for the purchase of land for parks, parkways, boulevards and pleasure drives, and transmit the same to the common council. Such part of said estimates as the council shall approve shall be included in the city budget. Said board shall transmit to the common council prior to March 1 of each year a full detailed report of all its transactions for the preceding year, together with an itemized account of all receipts and expenditures, a list of employees, and an inventory of property in charge of the board.
All moneys appropriated for park purposes, or received by subscription, gift, fees or otherwise for parks, parkways, boulevards or pleasure drives, shall be paid over to the city treasurer and be disbursed by orders of the city clerk drawn upon the city treasurer to pay accounts or bills that have been audited and allowed by said board and presented to the city clerk. Such orders shall be paid by the clerk and treasurer in the manner provided by s. 66.0607
. The board shall not contract any liability on the part of the city in excess of the budget authorized by the common council.
(3) Tax for parks; collection and expenditure of proceeds.
The common councils of all 1st class cities are hereby authorized and directed to include in the tax levy of each year, upon all taxable property of any such city, at the same time and in the same manner as other city taxes are levied and collected by law, a tax at a level determined by the board of park commissioners of such city, and certified to the common council and the city comptroller on or before such day in each year designated by law for making and filing with the city comptroller reports and estimates for the purpose of making up the budget for the ensuing fiscal year. The entire amount of such tax shall be collected, paid into and held in the city treasury as a separate and distinct fund to be known as the park and boulevard fund, and shall not be used or appropriated directly or indirectly for any other purpose than for the improvement, maintenance and control of the public parks and boulevards of such city, and for the payment of the salaries of the employees and other proper expenses of such board of park commissioners; provided, that of the said tax levied and collected in any such city, two-tenths of a mill upon each dollar of the assessed value of its taxable property shall be used each year by its board of park commissioners solely for the purpose of filling in and improving and maintaining as a public park or boulevard any strip of submerged land granted or which may be granted to said city to be managed, controlled, improved and maintained by its board of park commissioners; and provided further, that of said tax levied and collected in any such city one-tenth of a mill upon each dollar of the assessed value of its taxable property shall be used each year by its board of park commissioners solely for the purpose of improving and maintaining any zoological garden which may be managed, controlled, improved and maintained by its board of park commissioners.
(4) Special assessments for parks in all cities. 27.10(4)(a)(a)
Whenever any change of grade or improvement of parks, parkways, boulevards or pleasure drives within the limits of any city is proposed by its board of park commissioners at the expense of the real estate to be benefited thereby, it shall view the premises and determine the damages and benefits which will accrue to each parcel of real estate by such proposed change or improvement, and the entire cost thereof. Said board shall make and file in its office a preliminary report showing its said determinations.
Notice shall be given by the board that such report is open for review at its office, and that on a day and hour named therein, said board will hear all objections that may be made to such report. Such notice shall be published as a class 2 notice, under ch. 985
At the time specified for hearing objections to said report, said board shall hear all parties interested, who appear for that purpose, reduce to writing all objections made and all evidence offered to sustain the same, and may review, modify and correct said report as it deems just. At such hearing any member of the board may administer oaths.
Thereupon a complete and final report and determination shall be made and filed by the board in its office, together with all objections and evidence and proof by affidavit of the publication, which affidavit shall be presumptive evidence of the facts therein stated. No irregularity in the form of any of said proceedings shall affect the legality thereof, unless it shall appear that the owners of the property affected were misled by such irregularity and have not had an opportunity to be fairly heard.
When such final determination has been reached the board shall, within the next following 15 days, publish as a class 1 notice, under ch. 985
, that a final determination has been made and is on file in its office as to the benefits and damages that will accrue to the real estate affected by the proposed change or improvement.
The owner of any parcel of land mentioned in said notice feeling aggrieved by such final determination may, within 30 days after the date thereof commence an action in the circuit court to correct or redress such grievance. Any contract already entered into for making the proposed change or improvement shall not be affected by said action, but a certificate against the parcel of real estate in question for the amount of benefits assessed to such parcel shall be issued notwithstanding such action; and in case the plaintiff shall succeed, the difference between the amount charged in the certificate so issued and the amount adjudged to be paid as benefits accruing to the parcel of real estate described in such certificate shall be paid from the funds of the park district. Said action shall be the only remedy of the owner of any parcel of land or of any person interested therein affected by such change or improvement for the redress of any such grievance.
If in any such action the court determines that any such special assessment is invalid for any cause, the board shall forthwith make a new assessment against the property of the plaintiff as such original assessment should have been made, in accordance with s. 66.0731
History: 1985 a. 29
; 1999 a. 150
Board of public land commissioners. 27.11(1)(1)
Created by ordinance.
Every city may create by ordinance a board of public land commissioners consisting of the commissioner of public works, the city engineer, and 3 resident citizens, with power to convert streets and highways designated by the common council into parkways or boulevards.
(2) Appointment and organization. 27.11(2)(a)
Such resident commissioners shall be appointed by the mayor, subject to the approval of the common council, within 60 days after such creation of the board.
The terms of the appointive members of the first board shall terminate as follows: Of one member on the next ensuing first day of January; of one member on the 2nd ensuing first day of January; and of one member on the 3rd ensuing first day of January. The commissioner of public works and the city engineer shall serve on said board during their respective terms of office. Each commissioner shall hold office until a successor is appointed and qualified. In December immediately preceding the expiration of the term of any appointive member, the mayor shall appoint the member's successor to serve for a term of 3 years.
(3) Salaries of members.
The common council may fix and provide for the payment of a salary or salaries for one or more of the members of said board, when it is satisfied that such payment is necessary in order to carry out the purposes of this section, which salaries shall be paid solely out of the fund named in sub. (8)
, unless other provision shall be made in said ordinance for the payment of the same.
(4) Functions of board; employees. 27.11(4)(a)
Said commissioners may appoint such clerks, assistants and workmen as they deem necessary and proper for the proper discharge of their duties, subject, however, to such regulations in respect to the number of such employees to be appointed and their compensation as the common council may by ordinance prescribe.
Said board may acquire, in the name of the city, lands and improvements thereon, within a distance of 500 feet on either side of and abutting on any public street or highway in the city for the purpose of converting the same into a parkway or boulevard. Said lands may be acquired by purchase, gift, or condemnation, but only after such acquisition shall have been recommended to the common council by said board and ordered by resolution of said common council. Any gift of land for the purposes specified in this section shall first be accepted by the common council upon the recommendation of said board before the same shall become the property of such city.
Said board may, however, either prior or subsequent to such approval obtain from any or all of the respective owners contracts or options, in the name of said city, for the acquisition of said lands, or any part thereof, or any leasehold or other interest or claim therein or thereto; and said board may in such case pay out of the public land fund created by sub. (8)
any charges or expenses by it incurred in procuring such contracts or options. But any such contract or option shall not be binding upon, nor shall it create any liability against, the city until it shall have been reported and recommended by said board to the common council and approved by resolution of the common council recorded in its minutes.
Said board may manage, control, govern, improve, subdivide, resubdivide and plat, any land so acquired; and also to mortgage and sell the same, or parcels thereof, on such terms and with such restrictions and reservations as it deems necessary in order to convert such street or highway into a parkway or boulevard, and to protect the same and its environs, and preserve the view, appearance, light, air, health, and usefulness thereof.
Whenever said board deems it necessary to grade, pave, curb, repair, or repave any parkway or boulevard laid out and established under this section, or any part thereof, including the sidewalks thereof, said board shall recommend its proposed improvement to the common council, describing its plan, and submitting a plat for the same. The common council shall, if it deems such improvement necessary, direct the officer, board, or body having charge of the improvement of streets therein, to make an estimate of the cost of such improvement, which shall be placed on file in the office of said officer, board, or body, and be open to the inspection of the public.
(7) Liabilities payable from proceeds of operations.
No corporate liability whatever shall in any event be created under this section against any city, except to pay for lands condemned. All securities issued by said board and the damages for lands condemned shall be payable solely out of the proceeds of the operation of such board and the public land fund named in sub. (8)
. Such securities shall not be issued in an amount in excess of the cost to such city of such lands and 10 percent of such cost in addition thereto.
All appropriations to the board of public land commissioners and all receipts from the sale of real estate pursuant to sub. (4)
shall constitute a fund denominated the public land fund. Said fund shall be drawn upon only by orders signed by the president and secretary of such board and countersigned by the city comptroller in cities having such officer, and by the city clerk in other cities. Moneys from the resale of land in the public land fund shall either be appropriated by the common council to the board of public land commissioners, the proceeds thereof to be used for any of its legal purposes, or shall be placed by the common council in any sinking fund to retire bonds issued for the purposes specified in this section; provided, that no appropriation to the board of public land commissioners shall revert to the general fund, but shall continue, except as otherwise provided in this section, as a continuing appropriation of the public land fund.
Said board shall report to the common council in such city on or before the first meeting in September in each year the amount of money required for carrying out the purposes of this section, and the common council may provide such funds as it deems reasonably sufficient for such purposes and may cause to be levied and collected for such purpose an annual tax. Said tax shall be independent of the general purposes tax to be levied by said common council. Any unexpended surplus remaining in said public land fund at the close of the fiscal year shall become a part of the revenue of said board of land commissioners for the purposes aforesaid. The tax as herein provided shall not become effective or apply in any city until the question shall be submitted to a vote of the electors thereof by resolution or ordinance adopted by the common council, which shall provide for the time of holding such election. If approved by the majority of the votes cast upon that question in any city it shall go into effect in such city, otherwise it shall not take effect. Upon the ballot provided for such election shall be printed the following: “Shall the common council annually cause to be levied and collected at the same time and in the same manner as other taxes are levied and collected such sum or sums as they shall deem sufficient for the purpose of providing a public land fund?" Such election shall be held and the votes cast, counted, canvassed and returned in the same manner as at general city elections.
The receipts from rentals of property under the management of the board of public land commissioners shall constitute a revolving fund from which said board may expend such sums as may be necessary for the maintenance, operation, or repair of such property. From said fund sums not to exceed $500 may be drawn upon for such purpose without special order of the common council. Within 10 days after the close of each fiscal year, however, the net proceeds from rentals during such year shall be transferred from the revolving fund herein created to the general city fund.
(9) Audit of accounts.
Every claim or account arising under this section shall be audited and allowed by said board before an order is issued therefor. Immediately after such allowance said board shall furnish the city comptroller, in cities having such officer, and in other cities, the city clerk, with a copy of such claim or account or a statement of the character thereof, materials furnished, or services rendered, and said comptroller or clerk shall then audit the same before countersigning said order. Said board shall transmit to the common council at its first regular meeting in January of each year a full and detailed report of all transactions of said board for the preceding year together with their itemized account of all expenditures, a list of employees, an inventory of property, the purchase price thereof, and a description of all mortgages and securities issued and outstanding.
(10) Suspension or abolition of board.
The common council may by a two-thirds vote of the alderpersons-elect either suspend the operation of or abolish such board. In case of such suspension or abolition the common council may exercise the powers of such board so far as may be necessary to carry out the terms of any contract or complete any proceeding already entered into by such board.
(11) Powers delegated to other boards.
Every city may vest the powers, duties, and restrictions specified in this section, upon its board of park commissioners or any other existing board or commission, by an ordinance of its common council, in lieu of creating a board of public land commissioners under this section.
(12) Seven-member board, cities of the 1st class. 27.11(12)(a)(a)
In cities of the 1st class the common council may create by ordinance a board of public land commissioners, consisting of 7 citizen members, the commissioner of public works and the city engineer not to be members, with the same purposes, powers, functions, conditions and terms as boards of public land commissioners created otherwise under this section.
Commissioners under this subsection shall be appointed by the mayor, subject to the approval of the common council, within 60 days after the creation of the board, and such commissioners are to be persons of general qualifications rather than specialists or technicians in any particular phase of city planning.
Terms of the members of the first board shall terminate as follows: Of 2 members on the next ensuing January 1; of 2 members on the 2nd ensuing January 1; and of 3 members on the 3rd ensuing January 1. Each commissioner shall hold office until a successor is appointed and qualified. In December immediately preceding the expiration of the terms of any members, the mayor shall appoint their successors for a term of 3 years.
(13) May exercise powers of city plan commission.
In cities of the 1st class, said board of public land commissioners shall exercise all the powers conferred on city plan commissions by s. 62.23
For cost of construction and maintenance.
The common council may, by resolution make it a condition of the acceptance of any gift of lands for parks, parkways, boulevards or pleasure drives that the same shall be constructed and maintained solely at the expense of private parties until, by like resolution, the council shall vote to maintain them at the expense of the city.
(2) For damages caused by want of repair.
Neither the city nor any such private parties shall be liable for any damage resulting from insufficiency in such construction, maintenance or repair of any parks, parkways, boulevards or pleasure drives owned by the city and located outside of its limits; but the city may cause any of them or any part of either of them which is not in good repair, to be closed to the use of the public until the same shall be put in good repair. At conspicuous points along any such boulevard or pleasure drive a notice shall be placed at intervals not exceeding one mile, painted in large, plain letters, as follows: “Any person using this drive assumes all risk as to defects therein".
History: 1991 a. 316
; 1997 a. 35
Town and village parks.
Every town and village may provide and maintain parks, parkways, boulevards or pleasure drives pursuant to the provisions of this chapter which are applicable to cities.
Police protection. 27.14(1)(1)
Every city may exercise police supervision over all parks, parkways, boulevards and pleasure drives managed and controlled by its common council or by its board of park commissioners.
The board of park commissioners shall recommend to the common council the enactment of such ordinances as it deems necessary to protect and preserve the parks, parkways, boulevards and pleasure drives under its charge, or to secure the free and reasonable use and enjoyment thereof by the public; and the common council shall enact such proposed ordinances or such other ordinances as will be suitable for the purposes stated.
The city attorney shall prosecute in a court or courts of competent jurisdiction all violations of said ordinances.
Each member of a board of park commissioners and its superintendent are vested with the powers of police officers for the enforcement of all rules and regulations of the board and the ordinances aforesaid.
Moneys for cities of the 1st class, how disbursed.
All moneys received or raised in any city of the 1st class, however incorporated, for parks and boulevards, under the control of a board of park commissioners, shall be paid over to the city treasurer and shall be disbursed according to resolutions of the board of park commissioners authorizing the payment of bills and accounts after same have been audited and orders directed to be issued therefor, which shall be signed by the president and secretary of the board, except that said funds may by resolution of said board of park commissioners be disbursed upon orders signed by the president and secretary of the board of park commissioners, and countersigned by the comptroller after bills or accounts have been presented to and audited by the comptroller. All bills or accounts thus paid shall be reported by said secretary to the next regular meeting of the board of park commissioners. Such orders shall be made payable to the order of the persons in whose favor they shall have been issued, and shall be the only vouchers of the treasurer for payment from the park fund. It shall not be lawful for the board of park commissioners to expend or contract a liability for any sum in excess of the amount levied in any one year for the park fund on account of such fund.
History: 1991 a. 316
General penalty provision.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or any department rule or order promulgated under this chapter for which no other penalty is prescribed is subject to a forfeiture of not more than $100.
History: 1987 a. 27
Parties to a violation. 27.99(1)(1)
Whoever is concerned in the commission of a violation of this chapter for which a forfeiture is imposed is a principal and may be charged with and convicted of the violation although he or she did not directly commit it and although the person who directly committed it has not been convicted of the violation.
A person is concerned in the commission of the violation if the person:
Aids and abets the commission of it; or
Is a party to a conspiracy with another to commit it or advises, hires or counsels or otherwise procures another to commit it.
History: 1975 c. 365