JANESVILLE

One square block of green space in Janesville’s Courthouse Hill neighborhood likely will not become a surface parking lot after a county committee approved a resolution Tuesday.

The resolution, approved by the general services committee, calls for improving the Rock County Courthouse’s existing parking ramp rather than paving Upper Courthouse Park with new surface spots.

Several months ago, the county considered multiple options to upgrade security and overhaul employee parking at the courthouse. Some of those options would have converted a section of Upper Courthouse Park into a surface parking lot.

But a vocal group of neighbors worked with the county to save the park.

The resolution approved Tuesday would add a 4-inch concrete overlay to the east parking structure. Employees could enter the courthouse with a badge through the east entrance, while all members of the public would go through security screening at the west entrance.

It also adds a stairwell and elevator to the east entrance to make that entry ADA accessible. A plan to upgrade the loading dock is no longer included.

The resolution now awaits final county board approval at its next meeting Dec. 14. If approved, the plans would cost an estimated $6 million.

Committee Chairman Hank Brill said these moves save money while still solving security and parking needs. It’s slightly less expensive than a $6.5 million idea that would have created the surface parking lot opposed by some neighbors.

Deb Wood, who lives on Atwood Avenue and advocated for park preservation, endorsed the resolution during the meeting’s public comment period. She and other neighbors worked closely with the committee to find a compromise.

“We wanted to be able to do it respectfully, to be able to acknowledge the needs the courthouse has for security and parking for their employees,” she said. “But we also didn’t want it to be taking the park that’s very important for Janesville and the neighborhood.”

Upper Courthouse Park isn’t the most expansive or picturesque plot in Wisconsin’s Park Place—the flat piece of land is dotted with trees and tucked into one square city block—but green spaces boost neighborhood morale and enhance community spirit, Wood said.

Brill said the neighborhood group was “cordial and informed,” and the two sides worked well together.

Wood said she hadn’t participated much in local government before, but she enjoyed working with county officials to find a solution that works for everyone.

“People need to participate. They can’t sit back and hope things shake out. People need to know people and work with people,” Wood said. “Otherwise if you’re us and them, it never works. It was very collaborative, I think. Our group is very satisfied.”

GazetteXtra.com does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

  • Keep it clean. Comments that are obscene, vulgar or sexually oriented will be removed. Creative spelling of such terms or implied use of such language is banned, also.
  • Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Harassing comments. If you are the subject of a harassing comment or personal attack by another user, do not respond in-kind. Use the "Report comment abuse" link below to report offensive comments.
  • Share what you know. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history.
  • Do not libel anyone. Libel is writing something false about someone that damages that person's reputation.
  • Ask questions. What more do you want to know about the story?
  • Stay focused. Keep on the story's topic.
  • Help us get it right. If you spot a factual error or misspelling, email newsroom@gazettextra.com or call 1-800-362-6712.
  • Remember, this is our site. We set the rules, and we reserve the right to remove any comments that we deem inappropriate.

Report comment abuse