Residents of Wauwatosa will be able to enjoy the experience of an outdoor playground in all four seasons if area businesswoman Kerry Krienitz is able to bring her indoor park vision to reality.
The project currently known as The Village Park would be constructed in a vacant 20,000-square-foot building at 1167 N. 62nd St. if Krienitz can gather the funding from investors. Krienitz currently runs Central Bark Doggy Day Care, which is located under the same roof as the proposed site.
"We had been taking our littlest one (child) to our doggy day care facility on weekends to run around and I was thinking we need a park," Krienitz said. "That is the experience I wanted, a place where communities can gather. We want the park to be anything that you could have in an outdoor park. Not just a place for kids, but a place for families."
Features of the park would include a play area for kids, a space for yoga classes and a farmers market, a cafe and plenty of trees and plants. The floor surface is expected to be covered by artificial turf due to the difficulty in growing grass indoors. Krienitz said that windows in the ceiling with the added use of reflective panels and mirrors will aid in the needed sunlight for the trees and plants.
"This was a project that has been percolating in our minds when we had our first child," Krienitz said. "Then we bought this building, saw this space and it just clicked. We knew we had the spot. Where else are we going to find this kind of light?"
Krienitz said operationally it would work similar to the Hoyt Park Pool and there would be enough revenue streams to make the idea a worthwhile investment. Prospective customers could purchase a year-long membership, invest in being a "member" of the park or buy a day pass to gain entry. She said the classes offered and the cafe could bring in additional revenue.
"We are hopeful there is enough interest in the project that we can find funding. I think this is something people want," Krienitz said. "That is the experience I wanted, a place where communities can gather. We want the park to be anything that you could have in an outdoor park. Not just a place for kids but a place for families."
According to Krienitz the city of Wauwatosa does not need to be contacted regarding the project due to the existing zoning laws. But she added that she would like their support and is planning to consult with them at the appropriate time. City Administrator Jim Archambo was contacted Oct. 14 regarding this project and was unaware of it at that time.
"This has primarily been the industrial part of State Street and the village and we want to change that," Krienitz said. "We are starting to change that with our investment in the building. We want this to be more of a retail, amenities-based building that can service all of Quarry Heights.
"We are trying to change the building to service all of these people that live within a stone's throw so that they have more of a feeling that they get to experience in the village and elsewhere," she said. "This will in turn attract additional investment."
Quarry Heights, the neighborhood that surrounds the proposed site, has been adding residents in recent months due to various condo and apartment projects like The Reef and The Reserve.
Quarry Heights Neighborhood Association President Spencer Hoyt said he is thrilled with the proposal by Krienitz and said it should improve the neighborhood for all residents.
"I am just a neighbor that wants to see this come to fruition because it is a quality of life that many of us are seeking," Hoyt said.
Hoyt has scheduled a question and answer meeting session for Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. so area residents can express their feelings on the park. Visit the Facebook page for the QHNA for more information.