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Riverwest Neighborhood Association to Promote Voter Turnout

by Jay Kirk The Riverwest Neighborhood Association (RNA) has decided to take an active role in future elections by encouraging people to vote and by hosting candidate forums. In their March meeting, RNA attendees debated the organization’s role in local elections, with discussion centering around whether the RNA should support individuals for office or promote voter registration, getting people to the polls, and sponsoring forums where candidates speak and answer questions. A consensus was reached that RNA should facilitate the election process and not act in a partisan fashion. Of course, individuals are free to run for office or to support candidates for local political offices. Other items on the agenda included discussion of the organization’s name and its boundaries, implications of Commerce Street development, and special committee meetings. The RNA, which has been in existence since July 2000, formally decided to keep its name. There had been confusion in the past between the Riverwest Neigh-borhood Association and an older community organization, River Neighbors. For some time the RNA had been considering the development of a more formal organization. This was the impetus for selecting a permanent name for the association to help define the role and extent of its activities. It was agreed that the name Riverwest denotes the area and implies the issues they wish to pursue. Next attendees discussed the geographical area of Riverwest, tentatively defining the neighborhood as the area west and north of the Milwaukee River, south of Capitol Drive and east of Richards Street. The historical limits of Riverwest will be investigated. Further discussion centered on the possibility of the RNA becoming a non-profit organization. One member noted that one advantage of a non-profit entity is the opportunity of applying for grants. The downside of receiving grants, however, is that agencies often want to impose control over some aspects of an organization. Further discussion and action regarding the formation of a formal organization will occur at future meetings. The RNA is a neighborhood association open to all residents of Riverwest, and it meets at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month in the Riverwest Community Church on the corner of Holton and Hadley.
by Jay Kirk