By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – Lois Aubinger Park would no longer have a first name under a recommendation backed Tuesday, July 16, by the village’s Parks and Recreation Board.
Board members voted in favor of renaming the park as Aubinger Park, in recognition of the entire Aubinger family.
The park is located at the southeast corner of South Ridge Road and Marvelle Lane, also the site of a water tower in Ashwaubenon, and features a playground area, picnic tables and an open air shelter.
Rex Mehlberg, director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, presented the board with the request to rename the park as sought by Trustee Gary Paul, who wasn’t present for the meeting.
Mehlberg said the park was originally named Tower Park before former Village President Ted Pamperin championed an effort to rename the park in honor of Lois Aubinger, who was an active park board member and community advocate as well as having owned and operated the Ashwaubenon Press.
Lois Aubinger founded the paper in 1971 when it was known as the Ashwaubenon Times. Her son, former Village President Mike Aubinger, took over as the paper’s publisher and was in that position until passing away in 2017.
The paper is now known as The Press Times.
“With the passing of Village President Mike Aubinger, Gary (Paul) also felt the whole family’s contributions are certainly noteworthy, and therefore, he’d like to have discussion and see the name actually changed from Lois Aubinger Park strictly to Aubinger Park, or potentially Aubinger Family Park,” Mehlberg said.
Regarding the possible renaming of the park as proposed, Mehlberg said Pamperin indicated he thought it would be a good idea to rename it strictly Aubinger Park, while Mike Aubinger’s widow, Annette, didn’t have an issue with it, but thought other village residents were worthy of facilities being named after them.
“But we already have (Lois) Aubinger Park, so we’d kind of be tweaking that name, not creating a brand new facility,” Mehlberg said.
Trustee Mark Williams, who chairs the Parks and Recreation Board, said the park was named after Lois Aubinger for her time served on the park board and giving to the community.
“I don’t have a problem with moving it on to the village board and having a discussion there on renaming it, I guess, and see what the village board thinks about it,” Williams said. “That was the only thing (possibly negative with renaming the park) that I could think of is it’s honoring Lois is what that park is doing.”
Board member A. Dean Hess said he supported renaming the park as Aubinger Park because that would be “honoring the Aubingers, both Mike and Lois.”
Last year, the Green Bay Packers designated a road in the Titletown District off of South Ridge Road between Lodge Kohler and Kroll’s West as Mike Aubinger Way.
Mehlberg said Mike and Lois Aubinger are both “top citizens in Ashwaubenon’s history.”
“Lois has a park named after her, Mike has a street named after him – I’m fine either way, keeping it Lois or (renaming it) strictly Aubinger Park and recognize the both of them together,” Mehlberg said.
Board member Jaicie Dantzman said having just the last name with the park would represent the family.
“I’m more apt to go with Aubinger Park,” said Dantzman, who made the motion to rename the park.
The board’s motion is being forwarded to the village board for consideration at its July 23 meeting.
Smith Park pathway
In other action, the board recommended accepting the low bid of $20,160 from Quinn and Sons Concrete for a pathway extension to increase ADA accessibility throughout Smith Park.
Currently, the pathway starts at Shady Lane and allows ADA access only to the shelter and playground.
The extension would connect the current pathway to View Lane and the tennis courts.
In addition, an extension off the current pathway to the drinking fountain would replace the current crusher dust pathway.
Mehlberg said the pathway extension has been budgeted for $19,000, which would be split evenly between the park development and capital project funds.
He noted the additional $1,160 would come from the park maintenance budget.
That recommendation is also being forwarded to the village board for final review and action July 23.