To sports enthusiasts, The Rock is an impressive complex, with its beautiful baseball fields, its mountain biking trails and its skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing hills.
Nearby neighbors, especially those in Greendale, aren’t as enthusiastic about the new facility, which celebrates its grand opening this weekend.
Neighbors have concerns about The Rock’s baseball fields lighting, noise from concerts and special events and traffic that spills onto and congests 76th Street from Crystal Ridge Drive.
“We can hear The Rock already in our yard,” Greendale resident Pam Swanson said at a public hearing Tuesday. “We can see the lights. They are blinding, to say the least. That’s a very serious concern.
“The quality of life when we chose to live in Greendale has significantly dropped since the building of The Rock.”
The Rock sits mostly in Franklin, but some of its trails spill over into Greendale.
Village President John Hermes said he has an agreement with County Executive Chris Abele to work out all the issues and assured residents village officials will continue to work with all the entities involved.
But that’s one of the problems; there are many cooks in the kitchen. The land is owned by Milwaukee County, is operated by The Rock and stretches into two municipalities.
“The reality is, the parts people perceive as the biggest problem or nuisance, are in Franklin,” Village Manager Todd Michaels said. “We can’t really do anything about them.
“We’re working with the county to work on these issues.”
Jim Keegan, the Milwaukee County Chief of Planning and Development, told residents the facility will be amazing when complete and that The Rock and county want to be responsible neighbors.
He said the county is working with the Department of Transportation to determine how, or if, to address traffic concerns and said the sheriff’s department, park rangers and local municipal police departments may be called upon to alleviate issues parking and traffic issues.
The Rock general manager Tom Johns said he’s only received one noise complaint since the facility started hosting baseball games and other events earlier this summer. He agreed that with all the different stakeholders involved, it is confusing who is responsible for what and where residents should direct their concerns.
He’s just asking Greendale residents give the facility a chance.
“We’re there and we want to operate,” Johns said. “We simply ask that if we can be good neighbors that you can be good neighbors.”
Greendale will review The Rock’s special use application that allows for various activities and events to take place on village land at a Planning Commission meeting Aug. 14, and a Village Board meeting Aug. 20.